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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

V-ball dropped in first Tourney game

V-ball dropped in first Tourney game

One and they’re done.

Arizona volleyball made an appearance, albeit brief, in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The No. 19 Wildcats were upset by unranked Texas A&M on Friday, falling 3-1 in the match.

“”They started playing really solid volleyball both offense and defensively,”” said head coach Dave Rubio of the Aggies (20-10) in response to the first game loss. “”They had a pretty big lead, we came back and put ourselves in a position to at least be in the game.””

The entire match was marked by closeness between the two teams. Games two and four went to deuce. In a match that marked a career-high 29 digs from senior libero Alanna Resch in her final match, the Wildcats (19-11, 8-10 Pacific 10 Conference) couldn’t find themselves after taking game one.

The Wildcats continued their regular season trend of winning the first game of the match. Arizona had an attacking percentage of .310, and took advantage of an early 5-1 lead before easily taking the set 25-18.

“”I thought we played well the first game,”” Rubio said. “”I thought A&M was a little tight and they made a lot of unforced errors.””

After falling behind in set one, the Aggies, who also upset No. 15 host LSU on Saturday, stormed back to take the next three sets.

Texas A&M took an early 5-1 lead over Arizona. The lead would grow to 20-14 before redshirt junior outside hitter Whitney Dosty led a Wildcat comeback. Arizona could cut the lead to one, but the Aggies still took the set 25-23.

After the break, the Wildcats looked to rebound. Arizona took the lead in the third game as two blocks by Paige Weber and Jacy Norton gave the Wildcats the early 8-4 advantage. The Wildcats, leading 11-5, looked to be in control of the game before Texas A&M’s outside hitters took off.

“”The die had been cast at that time. They started to run the middle more,”” Rubio said. “”They served tougher. In matches when both opponents are very good and very close, small things are going to make the difference between winning and losing.””

Jennifer Banse and Kelsey Black combined to score the next three points for the Aggies. Their run would continue until the score was tied at 15. Banse would also have the game-winning kill for Texas A&M, giving the Aggies the 2-1 lead with a 25-21 victory.

During the fourth set, both teams were knotted at nine points apiece before Arizona regained a small 12-10 lead. Texas A&M would not be outdone as they held an 18-15 lead over the UA. The Aggies ended Arizona’s season with the 25-23 win in set four.

Although Arizona had three hitters in double figures, they were out-killed by Texas A&M 68-54. Dosty and Owens had 18 kills a piece while Courtney Karst had 14 in the match. Despite the individual statistics, Arizona had a team attacking percentage of only .193.

The offense stalled for the Wildcats in the middle of the court. Middle blockers Stephanie Snow and Jacy Norton combined for only four kills.

“”We couldn’t score enough and have enough diversity in our offense,”” Rubio said. “”We became very predictable about where we were going to set the ball.””

The first postseason appearance since 2005 ended abruptly for Arizona, but the Wildcats ended their tournament drought with high hopes.

“”We did the things necessary to be selected,”” Rubio said. “”Losing in the tournament is a fact of life for 63 teams. There’s only one team that can win in their last match. I feel for the kids. They put a lot of heart and soul into the season, and they got rewarded for that by being selected. But I think we had dreams of going further.””

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