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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

Arizona WBB looks to rebound at home against UC San Diego
Jason Dayee, Assistant Sports Editor • December 7, 2023

Arizona Volleyball goes 2-1 in the Wildcat Classic

The Wildcats advance to 5-6 on the season
Amelia McAnear
Giorgia Mandotti (15) celebrates a point with her teammates in a game against New Mexico State University on Friday, Sept. 15, in McKale Center. The Wildcats won the game 3-1.

California State University Long Beach swept the Arizona volleyball team to open the Wildcat Classic Thursday night in McKale Center. However, the Wildcats (5-6) got back on track with back-to-back wins over New Mexico State University in four sets Friday night, followed by a sweep over Alabama State University on Saturday to close out the Wildcat Classic and non-conference play

Thursday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.: Long Beach State 

Set results: 25-18, 25-19, 25-18

In the first set, both teams were trading points early. However, midway through the opening set, Long Beach State was able to pull away from the Wildcats following a run of 6 consecutive points, helping them cruise to a 25-18 first-set victory

The Wildcats kept Long Beach State within striking distance throughout the first half of set number two. However, the Beach seemed to get into a rhythm late in the second set, gaining complete control of the net and pulling away from Arizona for a commanding 25-19 victory in set number two

With their backs against the wall, Arizona was no match for the Beach as Long Beach State kept their foot on the pedal, eager to keep their momentum from the previous two sets. By the midway point of the must-win third set, the Wildcats were trailing 16-9 and were at risk of dropping their ninth straight set, which began the previous weekend in the Wisconsin Classic. Unfortunately, the Wildcats seemed unable to rebound from their early deficit, as they wound up dropping the third and final set by a score of 25-18

“I’m running out of messages at this point,” said Arizona head coach Charita Stubbs. “This is one of those things where we must step up and be ready to play.”

The Wildcats were led by senior Jaelyn Hodge, sophomore Jordan Wilson and senior Sofia Maldonado Diaz, who combined for 22 of the Wildcats’ 24 kills.

“We addressed everything that took place, and we are going to let it go,” Stubbs said. “You [have] got to have a short memory in athletics.”

The Arizona volleyball team congratulates Long Beach State for their victory on Thursday, Sept. 14, in McKale Center. The Wildcats fell 0-3 score. (Giacomo Cain)

Friday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m.: New Mexico State 

Set results: 25-17, 27-25, 21-25, 25-23

In the opening set, the Wildcats got off to a hot start but could not gain complete control, as New Mexico State was able to hang around early. However, Arizona would pull away late, closing the first set on a 8-2 scoring run en route to a 25-17 victory, snapping their nine-set losing streak.

The second set was back and forth from start to finish, as there were several lead changes throughout the set. Hodge led the Wildcats with five kills in the set, while sophomore Ana Heath led the Wildcats with two service aces. The Wildcats had their backs against the wall late, trailing 24-23, but closed the set on a 4-1 run, stealing set number two from the Aggies 27-25

Up two sets, the Wildcats looked to complete the sweep over the Aggies. However, a slow start put the Wildcats behind early, as New Mexico State cruised to a 25-21 victory, avoiding the sweep and keeping their hopes alive.

Arizona looked to close things out in the fourth set to avoid a stressful fifth-game deciding set. Throughout the fourth set, both teams battled, with neither team looking like they held an advantage. The score was tied 17 times, but the Wildcats outlasted the Aggies to win the match 25-23, snapping their three-game losing streak

The Wildcats were again led by Maldonado Diaz, Hodge and Wilson, who combined for 41 kills in the match. Maldonado Diaz finished with 17 kills, while Hodge finished with 13 and Wilson with 11

Puk Stubbe (10) celebrates with her team after a win against New Mexico State on Friday, Sept. 15, in McKale Center. The Wildcats won the game 3-1. (Amelia McAnear)

Saturday, Sept. 16 at 12:30 p.m.: Alabama State 

Set results: 25-12, 25-16, 25-18

Arizona got off to a strong start and kept up the momentum in the first set against Alabama State. This game marked the Wildcats’ third and final match of the Wildcat Classic. The Lady Hornets were no match for the Wildcats, who won the opening set easily with a score of 25-12.

Alabama State put up a good fight in the first half of the second set against Arizona, but they couldn’t keep up towards the end. Arizona took advantage of this opportunity and went on a 10-2 run to close out the set, winning 25-16 and taking a 2-0 lead in the match against the Lady Hornets.

The Wildcats were in complete control during the third set, as they cruised to a 25-18 victory over the Lady Hornets, completing the sweep. The Wildcats started the set with a bang and maintained their dominance throughout, leaving the Lady Hornets struggling to keep up. Despite Alabama State’s best efforts to make a late rally, Arizona kept their cool and sealed the win.

Junior Puk Stubbe and Maldonado Diaz led the Wildcats with nine kills each, followed by Wilson with eight kills. The Wildcats had six aces in the match and outscored Alabama State 75-46, as they picked up their second sweep of the season


Jaelyn Hodge leaps to hit a ball over the net in the Wildcats’ game against Alabama State University on Saturday, Sept. 16. This game was part of the Wildcat Classic and Arizona won 3-0. (Giacomo Cain)

Next up:

The Wildcats travel to Tempe to face ASU on Thursday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

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