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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Volleyball falls to WSU for 8th loss in 9 games

    UA junior setter Amy Dyck, left, and freshman middle blocker Jacy Norton attempt to block a ball during Arizonas 3-1 loss to Washington State yesterday in McKale Center. With the setback, Arizona has dropped eight of its last nine matches.
    UA junior setter Amy Dyck, left, and freshman middle blocker Jacy Norton attempt to block a ball during Arizona’s 3-1 loss to Washington State yesterday in McKale Center. With the setback, Arizona has dropped eight of its last nine matches.

    The Arizona volleyball team entered last night’s match against Washington State looking to create some space in the standings between themselves and the Cougars.

    With the two teams coming into the match tied for second to last in the Pacific 10 Conference, UA head coach Dave Rubio said it was imperative for the Wildcats to seize any opportunity they had for a win.

    But the Wildcats (10-10, 1-7 Pacific 10 Conference) found themselves looking up at Washington State (14-9, 2-6) in the Pac-10 standings after falling to the Cougars in four games, 26-30, 30-22, 30-26 and 30-26. The win marks WSU’s first victory in McKale Center since 1995.

    “”The hitting and scoring were an issue tonight,”” Rubio said. “”We just didn’t have enough players on the sideline. I was thinking about starting to put people in from the stands and see if we could get a little bit of rhythm.””

    Arizona snatched the first game behind a strong hitting performance by sophomore opposite hitter Randy Goodenough, as she landed seven kills and posted a .583 hitting percentage.

    However, Arizona couldn’t carry the momentum into the second game, as the hitting errors proved to be too much for the Wildcats. Arizona posted 24 attacking errors through the first two games.

    “”We didn’t make errors in game one,”” sophomore outside hitter Brooke Buringrud said. “”Game two and three and four we beat ourselves to the ground.””

    It was the Cougars who were able to build on their momentum from the second game, as they came out charging to take a 16-6 lead in the third game. Although Arizona fought back to get within one, a late surge eventually sealed the match for Washington State, 30-26.

    In the fourth game, the Wildcats let yet another close one slip away as Arizona couldn’t take advantage of a late 24-24 tie.

    “”It was a really weak performance by us,”” Rubio said. “”We just haven’t been in a very good place since we got back from the Oregon trip. I don’t know why that match has created such a bad feeling on the team, but we really lost a lot of confidence in that loss.””

    Buringrud led the Wildcats with 17 kills and both freshman outside hitter Whitney Dosty and Goodenough added 9.

    Sophomore Brittany Leonard and senior setter Stephanie Butkus both had 17 digs in the contest.

    The Wildcats will now turn their attention to the next match, as Arizona squares off against the No. 6-ranked, defending national champion Washington Huskies tonight at 7 in McKale Center.

    The Huskies (16-3, 6-2) enter the match coming off a three-game sweep of Arizona State.

    Goodenough said the team is going to try to forget about what happened last night and come out focused against the Huskies.

    “”What ever happened (last night), try and just leave it and come tomorrow with a new mentality,”” she said.

    Washington is every bit of a powerhouse as it was a year ago. The Huskies lead the Pac-10 in hitting percentage (.317) and assists (16.08) and rank second in the conference in both kills per game (16.98) and opponent hitting percentage (.140).

    The Huskies pose a great threat to the Wildcats, as Arizona has struggled immensely with hitting errors as of late.

    Washington is led by sophomore middle blocker Jessica Swarbrick, who is second in the conference in hitting percentage (.444), and senior setter Courtney Thompson, who leads the nation in assists with 14.53 per game.

    “”Right now it’s like we are trying to find our way out of the dark tunnel without a flash light,”” Rubio said. “”There doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel. The only thing we are focusing on now is trying to prepare for (tonight’s) game against Washington.””

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