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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball readies for Washington schools this weekend


Courtesy of Arizona Athletics

Arizona volleyball outside hitter Madi Kingdon spikes the ball past Oregon State’s defense during Arizona’s 3-1 win on Sunday in McKale Center. Kingdon and the Wildcats hit the road this weekend to face the Washington schools.

After a successful home stand against the Oregon schools, No. 13 Arizona volleyball will travel to Seattle and Pullman, Wash., to face the No. 5 Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars. This weekend’s travel will be the Pac-12 Conference’s longest road trip.

The Wildcats now claim sole possession of third place in the Pac-12 with only Washington and Stanford standing in their way. They also hold just a one-game lead over Oregon, UCLA and Colorado, which has a Pac-12 record of 9-7. Washington has an overall record of 25-2 (14-2 Pac-12) with its two losses coming against Colorado and Utah last week.

This season, the Huskies are currently undefeated at home with a record of 12-0 and already beat the Wildcats earlier in the season 3-1.
Washington State has struggled for most of the season, carrying a record of 10-18 (1-15 Pac-12). Its only Pac-12 win this season came against Utah back in late October. The Cougars also played Arizona earlier in the season, losing to the UA 3-1.

Before beating both of the Oregon schools last weekend, Arizona had a streak of six consecutive splits in Pac-12 play.

The Huskies lead the Pac-12 in service aces with 1.56 per set and blocks with 3.01 per set. The Cougars, on the other hand, have lost six consecutive games, but are led by the dynamic duo of Kyra Holt and Chelsey Bettinson, who have 3.46 kills per set and 2.70 kills per set, respectively.

The Huskies lead the all-time series over the Wildcats 34-25, while Arizona leads the all-time series over Washington State 62-15.

Although the Wildcats have a disappointing hitting percentage of second-to-last in Pac-12 play with a .197, the Arizona defense has owned opponents averaging 17.51 digs per set, the most in the conference.

UA powerhouse Madi Kingdon ranks fourth in the country in kills, averaging 5.26 kills per set. Even when she played poorly against Oregon State, racking up 14 kills and 10 errors, the rest of the Wildcats stepped up.

Coming off the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week award, UA setter Penina Snuka will look to add to her impressive play last weekend. Snuka had 51 total digs on the weekend and 31 alone against Oregon State. The 31 total digs were the fourth-most in Arizona history and the second-most in a four-set match.

Arizona has just four more matches to play before the start of the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats will decide their fate moving forward, especially since the standings are so close. In these final two weeks, Arizona will rely heavily on its seniors and its leaders.

Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.

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