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The Daily Wildcat

 

UA volleyball splits with Washington schools

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Arizona senior outside hitter Madi Kingdon (9) tries to block Washington freshman outside hitter/middle blocker Crissy Jones’ (28) spike during Arizona’s 3-1 loss against Washington in McKale Center on Sunday. Kingdon and the Wildcats split a pair of games against the Washington schools over the weekend.

Arizona volleyball lost to a third top-3 team of the season, undefeated Washington, 3-1, at home on Sunday.

No. 16 Arizona (16-4, 5-3 Pac-12 Conference) won the first set against the No. 3 Huskies, 26-24, but then dropped three in a row.“That’s a really good team that we played,” UA volleyball head coach Dave Rubio said. “I think that they’re the best team in the conference.”

The Wildcats are the only team in the country to have faced No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 Texas and the Huskies. Arizona fell to 0-3 against the top three.

Arizona opened the match with a 6-1 lead, on a 5-0 run and led 16-6 at one point. The Huskies cut Arizona’s lead to 18-13, then 20-19 and tied it at 22 and 24 but the Wildcats held on to win.

“I think in the first, set our serving and passing was really strong, and going into the next set, our serving was less aggressive and our servicing broke down a little bit,” UA senior outside hitter Madi Kingdon said. “I think that’s something that wins and loses matches in our conference.”

Washington hit .143 in the first set, then .205, .424 and .438 in the sets it won.

“They didn’t pass very well in the first set,” Rubio said.

Washington jumped out to a 12-6 lead in the second set. The Wildcats cut the lead to 22-18, but the Huskies won the set 25-20. Arizona started the third set with a 10-7 lead, but Washington tied it at 11. After being tied at 13, 14, 15 and 16, the Huskies took the lead at 17-16. Washington won that set 25-20 as well.

“Game 3 is kind of where the match was won and lost,” Rubio said. “They’re relentless.”

Kingdon had 17 kills, hit .137 and had 11 digs, and senior outside hitter Taylor Arizobal got 10 kills. Senior libero Kennedy Wesley had 14 digs.

Reigning national player of the year and UW senior outside hitter Krista Vansant had 24 kills, hit .293 and had seven digs.

While the fourth set was tied four times early on, the Huskies (19-0, 8-0) led most of the way, en route to a 25-17 win.

“They don’t make a lot of errors,” Arizobal said. “I know in the first game, it did obviously seem like they did just kind of made error after error, but they stayed consistent and they have obviously Krista Vansant and … solid people playing those positions.”

The Wildcats finished their four-match home stand 2-2 and saw their home record drop to 9-2. Attendance was 1,626 against the Huskies.

Arizona opened the weekend with a 3-1 win over Washington State on Friday night.

The Wildcats won the first two sets, 25-19 and 25-21, but lost the third 25-23. Arizona then won the fourth to finish off the Cougars. Wazzu (9-11, 0-8) was swept by the Arizona schools over the weekend, but took ASU to five sets.

The Wildcats hit just .155, their second-worst hitting percentage of the season, but held WSU to .089 hitting.

Kingdon had 18 kills and 12 digs, and sophomore outside hitter Ashley Harris had 11 kills and .250 hitting percentage.

The Wildcats tallied 75 digs, and five Arizona players recorded double-digit digs.

Senior libero Ronni Lewis led the way for the Wildcats with a career-high 26 digs. Sophomore setter Penina Snuka added 15 digs, while Wesley and sophomore libero Laura Larson each had 10.

Up next for Arizona is a trek on the Oregon trail, with a match against the No. 10 Ducks on Wednesday and then Oregon State on Friday.

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Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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