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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball travels on the road to face No. 5 Oregon and Oregon State

Mason Kumet
Arizona volleyball senior Sofia Maldonado Diaz winds up for a spike against USC in McKale Center on Sunday, Oct. 8. The match leaders were Jordan Wilson, Ana Heath, Jaelyn Hodge and Journey Tucker.

The Arizona volleyball team is set for a challenging road trip to Oregon, where they will take on the No. 5 University of Oregon in Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. Following a day of rest, they’ll square off against Oregon State University in Gill Coliseum on Sunday, Oct. 15, at noon.

Arizona (6-11, 1-5 in Pac-12 play) faces another formidable opponent in the Oregon Ducks (15-2, 5-1 in Pac-12 play), who are currently third in the conference standings. The Ducks have swept over half of their opponents this season and are on a two-game winning streak as they head into this matchup.

Oregon State (5-11, 0-6 in Pac-12 play), occupying the last spot in the conference standings, has experienced a season much like Arizona. However, the Beavers find themselves in a deeper hole than the Wildcats did before the Wildcats secured their first conference win this past weekend, ending a four-game losing streak. The Beavers are now on a nine-game losing streak and are looking to break it either against No. 19 ASU (17-1, 5-1 in Pac-12 play) on Friday or against Arizona on Sunday.

Oregon (15-2, 5-1 in Pac-12) 

The Ducks have faced five ranked opponents in their 17 games, with two of them ranked in the top 10. Their first loss of the season came against the No. 10 University of Minnesota in a closely contested match. Minnesota managed to clinch the five-set victory, with Mckenna Wucherer leading her team with a match-high 21 kills for the Golden Gophers.

Their second loss of the season came against then-No. 7 Washington State University  at home. The game resulted in a 1-3 loss for the Ducks, marking their toughest game of the season. The Cougars secured the first 10 points of the opening set and the final 6 points of the last set, handing the Ducks only their second loss of the season. Washington State largely controlled the game, although the Ducks kept it competitive apart from the first set.

As they prepare to face Arizona, the Ducks have won their last five meetings against the Wildcats, sweeping them in all but their most recent meeting. Arizona‘s last win over Oregon came on Nov. 15, 2019, in a sweep in Eugene, Oregon. To secure a second elusive conference victory, Arizona will need to improve their defense and rely on their top kill leaders this season: Sofia Maldonado Diaz, Jordan Wilson and Jaelyn Hodge.

Oregon State (5-11, 0-6 in Pac-12

The Beavers had a strong start to the season, winning five consecutive games after dropping their first two and swept all but one opponent during this win streak. However, since then, they have struggled to maintain their momentum and are yet to get back into the win column. Against their six conference opponents, they have won just four sets in total.

This shows that their success this season has primarily come against non-conference opponents. Even in losses against those non-conference opponents, they have only won six sets out of 21, which is a marginal improvement from their conference win ratio but still not sufficient, especially with ASU on the horizon.

The historical record between these two teams heavily favors Arizona, with the Wildcats leading the all-time series 29-7. Arizona has won the last six meetings. Oregon State’s most recent victory over Arizona came in Tucson on Oct. 25, 2019, in a 3-2 match. If Oregon State hopes to start turning its season around, it is likely to begin against Arizona, despite the historical record not being in their favor. 

The team still has talented players, including Tucson native and former Wildcat Lauren Rumel, who, in her debut season with Oregon State, boasts a .297 hitting percentage, ranking 18th in the Pac-12. Rumel has contributed 103 kills with just 27 errors on 256 attempts this season. Amanda Burns leads the team with 246 assists (12th in the Pac-12), and Ryan White leads the Beavers with 203 digs (8th in the Pac-12), having achieved double-digit digs in six matches, including a career-best of 24 in a five-set win over the University of Nevada Reno.

After a weekend where the Wildcats found themselves splitting games against two formidable Pac-12 opponents in UCLA and USC, Arizona is focused on building off their previous two performances. Head coach Charita Stubbs and her squad are determined to secure their second conference win of the season and continue working to get their season back on track.

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