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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball team herds the Buffaloes out of Tucson

Nick Trujillo
Senior Julia Patterson (4) smiles just before the match kicks off against New Mexico State University. The Wildcats won the game 3-0.

It was a hard-fought victory for the Arizona volleyball team on Sunday, March 14, as they escaped against Colorado by set scores of 26-24, 21-25, 25-19 and 25-19 in McKale Center.

The first set was an absolute mess for the Wildcats. They gave up six serving aces and six attack errors to Colorado. Luckily, the Buffaloes were not able to get their offense going either and surrendered six of the last nine points of the set to Arizona, allowing the Wildcats to steal a set victory. One offensive element Arizona took away from Colorado in this set was their tipping ability, which Colorado used very well in the previous meeting on March 12. Coach Dave Rubio learned that from the last match and changed his game plan.

“We worked on that [a lot in practice],” Rubio said. “[Colorado] was still pretty good. A really good, effective tip is almost impossible to defend, but fortunately most of the time they aren’t that accurate.”

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The second set was uglier than the first, with both teams giving up multiple serving and attack errors. It came down to who would find the momentum at the right time, and it ended up being Colorado. With the Wildcats clinging to a 21-19 lead, Colorado locked in and went on a 6-0 scoring flurry that allowed them to close out the set with a victory. 

That momentum did not carry over for Colorado in the third set, as the Wildcats unleashed their own scoring flurry at 6-1. Middle blocker Merle Weidt brought the energy for the Wildcats, along with three kills and a block assist that was the set point. Weidt has been working on being more aggressive at the net.

“I don’t feel like I have been on my [best] blocking game,” Weidt said. “I feel that I am finally able to change that. I am not necessarily trying to block the ball; I am just getting my palms up and over the net.”

Weidt also brought that aggressiveness into the fourth and final set, where she ended up with four more kills. Another Wildcat who stood out in the fourth set was setter Emery Herman. While setting is her main function, she shined in how well she served. Many of her serves were difficult to track for Colorado, which set up Arizona well for second chance points. Herman knew in order to be a great player, she had to improve many areas of her game.

“[Serving] is definitely something I have focused a lot on the past few weeks,” Herman said. “There is more I felt I could do to help my team when it comes to serving, so I have worked on it to be better and earn some more points that way.”

Herman also led the match in assists and blocks. Outside hitter Sofia Maldonado Diaz led the match in kills, attacks and overall points. 

Arizona will head on the road to California to face Cal Berkley in Haas Pavilion on March 19, at 6 p.m. MST.

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