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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Volleyball falls in NCAA first round

The Arizona volleyball team ended its season on Friday in a loss to Michigan State in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament in Austin, Texas.

The Spartans let the Wildcats have one game, but took the next three sets to a result in a 3-1 (18-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-21) loss for Arizona.

Arizona committed multiple hitting errors throughout the match, which undoubtedly contributed to its loss. The Wildcats almost made a game’s worth of hitting errors with 23 total.

“It was a frustrating match for us, because we just made too many attacking errors,” head coach David Rubio said to the media after the match. “We just erred ourselves out of the match. When we are on, it’s when we aren’t making as many attacking errors. You might attribute that to the fact that we are young and inexperienced, but they were able to score and we weren’t.”

Freshman outside hitter Madison Kingdon said the Spartans experience gave them an advantage, but dismissed Arizona’s youth as a reason her team lost.

“I don’t think our team plays like we are young at all,” Kingdon said to the media. “Them having a lot of experience probably added to their game a little bit by being able to finish, and finishing stronger.”

In the first set both teams went point for point, tying seven times before Arizona made a 5-0 run to take the lead at 16-12. The Wildcats continued their run taking the first set, 25-18.

But after the first set, Arizona’s offense went downhill while Michigan State picked up momentum, said senior outside hitter Courtney Karst. The Spartans amped up their play after game one and continued to outplay the Wildcats, she said.

“Michigan State played better as a team than we did,” Karst said. “They made less errors and had more urgency.”

The Spartans’ passing also improved after the first game, allowing them to vary their offense by setting the middle more, Karst said.

For the second set, the Spartans did exactly what the Wildcats accomplished in the first, going on a 5-1 streak early in the game and never letting the UA back into the match.

Both teams played evenly with each other throughout the last two sets, but the Spartans first made it to 25 in both games.

“We are disappointed we lost in the first round,” Rubio said to the media. “But we will go back to the drawing board and get ready for 2012.”

Player highlights

Senior Courtney Karst and freshman Madison Kingdon both led the team in hitting, making 15 kills each. Karst made one hitting error for a high hitting percentage of .438.

Freshman Chloe Mathis had 40 setting assists, 10 digs and five kills.

Seniors Cursty Jackson and Marketa Hanzlova contributed five kills and four digs, respectively.

Freshman Rachel Rhoades made five kills and five blocks, while fellow freshman Taylor Arizobal had six kills and two blocks.

Sophomore Candace Nicholson got up 10 digs for her 22nd match with double-digit digs this season.

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