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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball to face ASU in first conference game

Giacomo Cain
Puk Stubbe serves to New Mexico State University on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. This game was part of the Wildcat Classic., and Arizona won the game 3-1

Following a solid 2-1 showing at home during the Wildcat Classic, the Arizona volleyball team will kick off Pac-12 play on Thursday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. as they head up to Tempe to take on undefeated rival ASU in their home opener.

History vs. ASU

Arizona leads the all-time series 59-47 and won last season’s matchup in a tight 3-2 matchup. The Wildcats maintain the series lead both in Tucson (45-35) and on the road in Tempe (14-12). Between March 5, 2021 and Sept. 26, 2022, Arizona played ASU six times, winning four of those matchups.

Despite Arizona’s recent success against ASU, the upcoming match poses a significant challenge due to Arizona’s recent struggles and ASU’s recent dominance.


The Wildcats (5-6) are off to a rough start to their season under first-year head coach Charita Stubbs. After going 3-5 in the first eight matches of the season, Arizona got back on track by going 2-1 in the Wildcat Classic. Their sole loss last weekend came at the hands of California State University Long Beach in the first game. Currently, the Wildcats are riding a two-game winning streak.

Arizona has struggled against high-level competition thus far in the season. Arizona faced losses at the hands of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Iowa State University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Miami. Not coincidentally, these are the only four Power-5 conference opponents Arizona has faced

With ASU still undefeated on the season despite a formidable slate on the schedule, the Wildcats will need standout performances from their leaders. Seniors Sofia Maldonado Diaz and Jaelyn Hodge lead the team with 138 and 134 kills, respectively. Maldonado Diaz also leads the team with 12 service aces. Hodge ranks among the top 150 performers, with 388 attacks tied for 132nd-best nationally. Ana Heath’s team-leading 379 assists are 79th-best in the nation as well.


The Sun Devils have gotten off to a fantastic start to the season. Despite some tough opponents on the schedule in the University of Mississippi and the University of Memphis, ASU has gone on a 12-0 run in non-conference play to start the season. Their worst outing was in the Borderlands Invitational where the University of Texas at El Paso, the University of San Francisco and New Mexico State University each won a single set in triplet 3-1 wins for ASU

In the remaining nine games, ASU achieved 3-0 sweeps. They are currently on a six-game sweep streak since Thursday, Sept. 7. Unlike Arizona, ASU didn’t have the luxury of hosting a Classic or an Invitational, so they have spent the entirety of their non-conference schedule on the road.

Rivalry or not, the Sun Devils’ resilience has been astounding to start the season and doesn’t bode well for the Wildcats.

ASU’s roster has quite a few solid players in many areas of the game, along with a trio of powerful servers. Senior Marta Levinska leads the team with 24 service aces, tied for 16th-best in the nation. Close behind her are graduate students Shannon Shields and Mary Shroll with 20 service aces each, tying them for 63rd-most in the nation. Shields also leads the team in assists with 404, ranking 52nd in the nation. Levinska also leads the team in total attacks with 339, and Shroll leads the team with 140 digs. Maddie McLaughlin is the team leader in blocks and is tied for 118th in the nation with 44.

Looking ahead:

Arizona has a tall task ahead, as the Sun Devils show no sign of slowing down. However, rivalry games are always interesting and the series history shows that these teams tend to always bring it down to the wire. 

Arizona plays its next home game on Sunday, Sept. 24, against Washington State University at 1 p.m.

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