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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Four volleyball players receive Pac-12 honors

Arizona head coach Dave Rubio’s team placed four volleyball players on the All-Pac-12 Conference team, including senior outside hitter Cursty Jackson.

Senior Courtney Karst was named an honorable mention selection, and freshmen Madison Kingdon and Chloe Mathis were selected to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team.

“I feel amazing,” said Jackson, the senior middle blocker. “It was definitely a goal coming into this season.”

Jackson’s honor displays her significant impact on the conference during her two-year tenure. The Los Angeles native transferred from UNLV after her sophomore season, and recently concluded her second and final regular season as a Wildcat.

She has the team’s highest hitting percentage with .306 and also leads the team in blocks with a 100.

Her next goal is to win in the first round of the 2011 NCAA tournament this Friday, when Arizona takes on Big Ten contender Michigan State.

“I play better under pressure so I’m excited for that,” Jackson said. “I definitely want to go out there and win. We lost first round last year, so we’re feeding off of that and are just ready to prove to the world that Arizona volleyball is ready to compete.”
Karst said she was grateful for her honorable mention. The outside hitter leads the team in hitting with 345 kills.

“It was kind of expected, because I’ve been working pretty hard this year and all spring,” Karst said.

Arizona was the only team in the conference to have two freshmen selected to the All-Pac-12 team.

Prior to last month’s severe ankle sprain, Kingdon had been the leading scorer for the Wildcats, starting in every match and playing in every rotation. She had 343 regular-season kills, only two behind Karst.

Even after her ankle injury, the outside hitter continued to contribute offensively, but really began to shine on defense, tallying 242 digs for the team. She also has the team high of nine matches with double-doubles.

“I’m setting my sights on what needs to be accomplished this weekend, getting in the mindset of having to play at a higher level and knowing that if we lose this game, it’s our last game,” Kingdon said.

Unlike Kingdon, Mathis wasn’t expected to start this season, especially in a 5-1 offense, she said.

For a setter, it’s a huge accomplishment that generally comes with maturity. Mathis totaled 933 assists in regular season, plus 164 digs, 50 kills and 30 blocks.

“I honestly thought I wasn’t going to start at all,” Mathis said. “I was just trying to do my job and learn as fast as I could.”

Mathis remembers every moment of the Oregon match when she started for the first time. It was horrifying and she had never been so nervous in her entire life, she said.

A few months later she earned a coveted spot on the conference’s all-freshman team.

“You come here and you think you know what you’re doing, but they (coaches) change everything,” Mathis said. “I didn’t even think about making all-freshman team.”

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