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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


In LA, Rubio earns 500th win

Arizona volleyball had a solid weekend in Los Angeles, defeating No. 2 UCLA and falling to No. 1 USC.

Even with the Wildcats’ 3-0 loss (25-14, 25-18, 25-21) to the Trojans, their 3-0 win against the Bruins (25-23, 25-23, 25-20) not only made their tournament bid more promising but also earned head coach Dave Rubio his 500th career win.

The success was especially impressive considering the absence of outside hitter Taylor Arizobal, who was replaced in the lineup by senior Marketa Hanzlova.

“It’s the best match we’ve played to date,” said Rubio on the UCLA win. “It was without Taylor, and Marketa really stepped up. The seniors particularly played well.”

Seniors Courtney Karst and Cursty Jackson were the offensive leaders against the Bruins, both tallying 11 kills for the Wildcats (18-11, 10-10).

“It felt like everyone was on their game, and from the start it was like, ‘We’re not going to lose this game,’” Karst said. “We had some kind of urgency in us that nothing was going to stop us. It was really cool to be a part of that.”

Along with the Wildcats’ strong mentalities, Karst credited the team’s blocking and defense in the win. Freshman Rachel Rhoades had five blocks and Candace Nicholson had 10 digs.

“Everyone played extremely well and our block was really good,” Karst said. “The block would line it up for the defense, then we could defend and we didn’t make that many errors — UCLA made a few and it made our job a little bit easier.”

But on Saturday, the Trojans could not be stopped, playing like the No. 1 team in the country they are, Rubio said.

Trojan hitter Alex Jupiter was the leading scorer for both teams with 18 kills and a .607 hitting percentage. Lauren Williams had 10 kills for USC with an even more impressive .833 hitting percentage. Both Karst and freshman Madi Kingdon had 10 kills on Saturday, while Jackson had seven for the team.

Despite their high numbers, it wasn’t enough to beat the Trojans.

“They played like they were the No. 1 team,” Karst said. “They played lights out — it was crazy. Everything we tried to do they just hit over us. We couldn’t defend them very well, and we weren’t passing very well. They played too well and we didn’t play well enough.”

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