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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Volleyball takes on New Mexico State in big dance

Rebecca Marie Sasnett
Rebecca Marie Sasnett / The Daily Wildcat UA junior outside hitter Madi Kingdon digs the ball during the volleyball game against ASU Friday, Nov. 29 at the McKale Center.

The Arizona indoor volleyball team will face New Mexico State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday at 6 p.m. MST at the Jenny Craig Pavilion on the University of San Diego campus.

Arizona has been one of the best defensive teams in the Pac-12 Conference, leading the league with 17.34 digs per set, and is ranked No. 2 in the conference with a .173 opponent hitting percentage.

New Mexico State (22-10) won the WAC Tournament title last Wednesday after sweeping Bakersfield.

“They’re good; they’re physical,” said head coach Dave Rubio. “There [are] a lot of players on that roster that have connections to me or the program in some way.”

The Aggies are led by Tucson native, WAC Player of the Year and WAC Tournament MVP senior middle block Desiree Scott. Scott averages 2.62 kills on .372 hitting and 1.33 blocks per set.

“I think [Scott] is a good middle, from what I hear, but I think that we have really strong middles on our team, too,” said junior outside hitter Madi Kingdon.

The Wildcats have faced the Aggies 13 times in school history and have won every match. The last time they played against each other was in 2010.

“We know them a little bit, but we still need to scout them a lot more and train a lot more for what they’re going to bring to the table,” Kingdon said.

Kingdon has been one of the top players in the Pac-12. She finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in points (5.12 p/s). She also finished third in kills (4.38 p/s) and fifth in service aces (0.32 p/s). Kingdon was named to the All-Pac-12 team on Tuesday.

Kingdon is also the only Wildcat who has played the Aggies in a regular season match.

Senior libero Candace Nicholson saidshe is also familiar with some of the players from NMSU.

“It’s always different, especially in the tournament,” Nicholson said. “Every team plays their hardest, so I’m sure they’re going to be a really tough opponent.”

Nicholson was the recent Pac-12 Defensive Player of the week.

Head coach Dave Rubio and players have not forgotten that Arizona was notselected for the tournament last year head coach Dave Rubio and the players.

“We’re definitely very excited to be back in the tournament after missing it last year, so I’d say we’re all pretty pumped up and ready to go,” Nicholson said.

— Follow Rose Aly Valenzuela @RoseAlyVal

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