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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball starts conference play in McKale Center with rival ASU

Jesus Barrera
Arizona outside hitter Kendra Dahlke (8) spikes the ball against Pepperdine on Saturday, Sept. 3.

The Arizona women’s volleyball team had an 8-4 start in the non-conference matches and is set to take on the Pac-12 Conference. The Wildcats open at home against in-state rival ASU (7-5) on Wednesday in McKale Center at 7 p.m.

The Wildcats are well prepared for the Sun Devils but should stay aware of the firepower ASU brings to the court. ASU has an overall hitting percentage of .583 compared to the UA’s .667 hitting overall.

The Sun Devils lost their last non-conference match at the Boise State Classic against Boise State. New head coach Stevie Mussie could look to make adjustments to her lineup. Mussie took over the program after serving two seasons for the Penn State women’s volleyball program, and helped win a national title with the Nittany Lions in 2014.

Mussie noticed in the pre-season matches that her Sun Devil team team needed proper preparation and execution from their side of the net. This gives an advantage to the Wildcats, who have outside hitter Kendra Dahlke leading the team with 168 kills so far this season.

RELATED: Arizona closes out non-conference schedule with win in Butler Invitational.

ASU has a powerful leader, Oluoma Okaro, who leads the team with 140 kills and 54 blocks this season. Last season, Okaro posted 96 total blocks and 260 kills. Not far behind with 134 kills is senior Cassidy Pickrell. Pickrell led the Sun Devils last season with 304 kills.

The Wildcats need to be prepared on defense as ASU middle blocker Okaro has 23 service aces. She also had a season high of six aces in a match against Santa Clara at the Boise State Classic. However, the neutralizer could be Libero Laura Larson, a defensive specialist with 148 digs so far this season.

RELATED: Conference play set to begin for Arizona volleyball, football this week.

The Arizona Wildcats will look to continue their five-game win streak when they have the home-court advantage against the Sun Devils on Wednesday night.

Follow Syrena Tracy on Twitter.

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