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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Volleyball finally ends slide

    Middle blocker Jacy Norton, front, and opposite hitter Randy Goodenough, back, try to get the ball over the net in Fridays win over Washington State in McKale Center. The win stopped a seven-game losing streak.
    Middle blocker Jacy Norton, front, and opposite hitter Randy Goodenough, back, try to get the ball over the net in Friday’s win over Washington State in McKale Center. The win stopped a seven-game losing streak.

    Paige Weber served the ball from the right side of the court. It caressed the net and went over.

    Washington State middle blocker Tara West dove for the short ball, fisted it out of bounds and the Arizona volleyball team won for the first time in eight matches.

    “”I stepped back to serve, and I said, ‘It’s match point. You can’t miss this one,’ “” said Weber, who had four serving errors in the match. “”I decided to go really super-aggressive, and it clipped the net and was an ace.

    “”I was like, ‘Oh, please, God,’ blowing on it to go over,”” she added with a laugh.

    The Wildcats (13-12, 3-10 Pacific 10 Conference) snapped their season-long seven-match losing streak as they swept the Cougars (9-17, 0-12) Friday night in McKale Center by scores of 30-17, 30-23 and 30-15, extending the Cougars’ losing streak to 15.

    “”It’s really nice,”” said opposite hitter Randy Goodenough. “”We’ve kind of forgotten how it feels to win.””

    The Wildcats began the final game with a 15-5 run and ended on a 15-10 rally. They hit a blistering .581 in the game, boosting their hitting percentage in the match to .362 – a conference high for them. It was also the first time in the last 15 matches that Arizona hit .300 or better.

    The Cougars hit .018 in the match, .149 lower than their season average.

    “”I felt we played a really efficient match, and we looked like a good team,”” said UA head coach Dave Rubio.

    Though he was happy with the win, Rubio added that the team played similar to how it had Thursday night in a three-game loss to No. 4 Washington, but that the win did wonders for the players’ mentality.

    “”I told the players this, and they laughed at me,”” Rubio said. “”The physiological part of winning is huge. The difference between (Friday) and (Thursday) is that there’s really not that much difference. You put an ‘L’ in one column and a ‘W’ in the other. And yet, physiologically, it makes a huge difference.””

    Game two included six tie scores halfway through. Down 12-10, Rubio called a timeout to talk to his team. The Wildcats came back to tie the game at 15 and eventually win by seven.

    “”I felt like we were getting a little casual with how we were handling the ball,”” he said.

    But it was the relaxation that pushed the Wildcats to the win, Goodenough said.

    “”Everybody felt really comfortable; it was really smooth,”” she said. “”If you try too hard, it usually never works out.””

    Goodenough hit a match-high 16 kills on a season-high .452 hitting percentage. The lefty also had 12 digs to make her 12th double-double of the season.

    Outside hitter Tiffany Owens posted 11 kills – her sixth straight match with double-digit kills.

    With a baker’s dozen victories, Arizona has matched its win total from last season. The Wildcats didn’t reach the mark until the second-to-last match of the season last November, against none other than WSU.

    “”I’m excited that we won,”” Rubio said, “”and we put ourselves in (a) position to hope that we can still make it to the postseason.””

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