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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona volleyball sweeps Oregon schools over weekend

The No. 14 Arizona Wildcats earned two key victories over the Oregon schools at home to claim sole possession of third place in the Pac-12 Conference. On Thursday, the Wildcats pulled off their biggest upset of the season, defeating the No. 10 Oregon Ducks in four sets (25-19, 25-14, 22-25, 25-13). On Sunday, Arizona narrowly defeated the Oregon State Beavers in four sets (25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 25-23).

“That may have been the hardest match of the year for us,” UA head coach Dave Rubio said. “Oregon State is a very good team, as all of the teams are in the conference. [I] felt pretty fortunate to come out of there with a win and proud of how we really grinded today.”

Arizona now has an overall record of 21-7 and 10-6 in the Pac-12, moving ahead of Oregon and Colorado, which had previously been tied with Arizona for third place in the conference.

Against Oregon State, the Wildcats struggled to get kills as the Beavers continued to dig them out. Outside hitter Taylor Arizobal finished the match tying her season high in kills with 17 and had a hitting percentage of .326.

“She was terrific,” Rubio said. “Taylor, throughout the career, if you were to best describe her offense, it would be somewhat tentative and inconsistent. Within the last four weeks, she has really stepped up her game and become more mindful and aggressive.”

Setter Penina Snuka had 47 assists and 31 digs in the match and added 3 kills. Outside hitter Madi Kingdon struggled for most of the match, tallying 14 kills but also 10 attack errors.

Against Oregon, the Wildcats dominated at the net, out-blocking the Ducks 17-5. Rachel Rhoades led Arizona with nine blocks, and Kingdon had five. Also, the UA had six aces to Oregon’s two-and-half as many service errors.

“I thought everybody came to play tonight on our team,” Kingdon said in a press release. “All of our hitters were on tonight, everyone’s defense was good, Penina had great defense. I think everything clicked for us tonight — defense, hitting, everything was going our way.”

Kingdon led the way for the Wildcats against Oregon, racking up 25 kills. Following both matches, Kingdon tied the Arizona record with 105 career 10-plus-kill matches. She has also been named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, which is given to volleyball athletes who excel both on and off the court.

Snuka has carried the team on her back as well, and Rubio boasted about her performance this season after the Oregon State match.

“You can’t say enough about her and her willingness to sacrifice her body to run the team,” Rubio said. “Really, the team is a reflection of Penina because the quarterback or point guard is going to dictate the flow of the team and the attitude of the team. We are fortunate to have her leading us.”

Next up for Arizona, the Wildcats hit the road to face the Washington schools.

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Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.

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