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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA volleyball wins 15th game, Cal Golden Bears bow down

Kyle+Hansen+%2F+The+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0Aduring+Arizonas+3-0+victory+over+the+California+Golden+Bears+on+Wednesday%2C+Oct.+8%2C+2014.+%0A
Kyle Hansen
Kyle Hansen / The Daily Wildcat during Arizona’s 3-0 victory over the California Golden Bears on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014.

In a game of runs, the No. 16 Arizona volleyball team defeated the California Golden Bears in a straight sets (25-19, 25-19, 25-11) sweep on Wednesday in McKale Center. The Wildcats improved to 15-2 overall and 4-1 in Pac-12 Conference play.

For California (8-7, 0-5), it was a story of what could have been.

The Golden Bears labored through 23 attack errors, three service errors and had a paltry team hitting percentage of .082.

For an Arizona squad coming off a frustrating loss at Colorado, it was all about getting back to business.

“It was nice to be able to play with efficiency and sharpness tonight after really not playing that well against Colorado,” UA volleyball head coach Dave Rubio said. “I was pleased how we responded. Tonight, certainly we were more emotionally engaged in the match, and I thought we were really tuned in.”

The first set saw back-and-forth play through seven points before Arizona started to pull away. Behind an 11-4 run that started and ended with California attack errors, the Wildcats took control for the majority of the set.

Cal battled back toward the end of the set, but it was too little, too late. The Golden Bears struggled with eight attack errors in the first set, which was their second-highest set total during the match. Arizona took the first set 25-19 behind the arms of senior outside hitters Madi Kingdon and Taylor Arizobal.

“For Taylor, it’s all about her feeling good about herself and being assertive,” Rubio said. “When she’s really on and really gets after it … she’s terrific. She’s very good and a very skilled player for us.”

Arizona started the second set off with a bang, outscoring the Golden bears 9-4 and looking to be in firm control. However, Cal fought back to a 11-11 tie midway through the second set.

From that point on, it was all Arizona.

In the third and final set, Arizona came out firing and opened up a commanding 11-0 lead over the Golden Bears. That 11-0 start was the best start to any set of the entire season.

Kingdon led the way for the Wildcats with 13 kills, 36 total attacks, eight digs and a team-high 14.5 points. Aiding Kingdon in the victory was the senior trio of libero Ronni Lewis, middle blocker Rachel Rhoades and Arizobal.

Lewis led the Wildcats with 14 digs, Rhoades finished fourth with eight points and Arizobal tied for second in points with 12 and was third in kills with eight.

Arizona improved to 8-0 at home this season and defeated Cal for the first time in the last eight matchups. The Wildcats hadn’t defeated the Golden Bears since November 2009.

“That was a really fun match,” Kingdon said. “We came out and just played really clean. I think that everything was just going our way, and we just had so much momentum going for us that it was easy to do.”

The Wildcats return to action Friday at 8 p.m. in McKale Center against the No. 1 Stanford Cardinal. The last time the two teams matched off, the Cardinal swept Arizona over three sets in the second-to-last conference game of the 2013-14 season.

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Follow Roberto Payne on Twitter.

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