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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Volleyball falters against top-10 teams

Inconsistency was the reason behind both of Arizona’s (10-5, 2-4) losses to No. 6 Stanford 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-15, 25-18) and No. 4 California 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-21) this weekend in the Bay Area.

“We’re just not able to sustain a level of consistency long enough to win a match,” head coach Dave Rubio said after the Wildcats’ loss to Stanford on Sunday. “We can do it for a game or two, but if we’re going to beat these teams, then we have to be better throughout all three games, not just for a game and a half.”

On Sunday, the Wildcats won their first and only set of the weekend against the Cardinal, forcing the match to go into four games.

Arizona outside hitter and go-to player Madison Kingdon turned her ankle before the match, hindering the Wildcats’ offense. The freshman still went on to compete in the match, but wasn’t at 100 percent, Rubio said.

Despite the team’s second consecutive loss and Kingdon’s injury, Rubio did take away some positives from the match.

“I’m frustrated, because we weren’t at full speed and yet I felt we competed well,” Rubio said. “We really battled well, and it’s apparent that we’re very close to being in the top half of the conference. I’m encouraged, and we just have to keep getting better.”

Senior captains Courtney Karst and Cursty Jackson were the lead point scorers for the Wildcats with 21 kills and 15 kills, respectively.

“Courtney has been great, Cursty has been great, we’ve been getting such good leadership out of those guys,” Rubio said. “They put their hearts and souls into every single match.”

Karst noticed the team’s habit of getting stuck.

“It’s a tough loss considering how high our confidence was when the match started, but I think we just didn’t push at the right times,” Karst said. “We had a big team meeting last night about playing for each other and having each other’s backs, and that really helped.”

Against the Golden Bears on Friday, the Wildcats came close to winning in each of the three games.

“It was the same type of deal (as Stanford),” Rubio said, “Game 2 and Game 3 were really close and with 20-20 in Game 1, we just couldn’t do it.

“Our serving and passing need to be really on for us to do well offensively,” he added. “When we don’t pass the ball that well, then we’re going to struggle. That’s what happened that night and that’s what happened tonight. The games we didn’t win were because we didn’t do well enough in those two areas: serving and passing.”

With 12 kills total, Kingdon was the only player for the Wildcats to reach double-digits.

Meanwhile, the Golden Bears had three individual players who scored in the double digits. Senior Tarah Murrey and junior Shannon Hawari each had 13 kills, while freshman Christina Higgins tallied 11 kills for the Golden Bears.

California junior setter Elly Barrett almost doubled Arizona freshman setter Chloe Mathis’ assists with 43 total. Mathis made 24 assists in the Wildcats’ defeat.

“We’re getting there and getting closer, we just gotta’ keep grinding,” Rubio said.

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