Arizona volleyball sees another Pac-12 early season loss
Three days after losing to ASU in the conference opener, the Wildcats were swept by Cal.
Arizona (10-4, 0-2 Pac-12) didn’t win a single set in the first two Pac-12 matches.
The two consecutive losses are the Wildcats’ first losing skid this season. The Golden Bears (8-3, 1-1) won the first set against Arizona 25-23, the second set 25-14 and the third set 25-14.
“I think it’s all a matter of perspective,” head coach Dave Rubio said. “It’s always difficult to lose; it’s frustrating for us not to win a set, but we could just as easily be 2-0 or 1-1.”
Junior outside hitter Madi Kingdon had a match-high 19 kills and her hitting percentage was .260, an improvement from the .022 she had against ASU. Kingdon also had seven digs, four blocks and two assists.
Freshman setter Penina Snuka came close to a double-double as she had 27 assists and eight digs. On the defensive side, junior outside hitter Jane Croson led the Wildcats with 12 digs, followed by junior libero Ronni Lewis, who recorded 10.
Cal senior outside hitter Adrienne Gehan had a team-high 13 kills.
Both teams played well on offense; Arizona hit .244 and Cal hit .333. Errors proved to be costly for the Wildcats though, as they had eight service errors.
Despite losing all three sets in the end, Arizona had a chance.
“Right now I feel that we’re really close and the inability to execute at the end of each set has been the reason why we haven’t been able to win,” Rubio said.
When the first set was tied at 23, on the next play the Golden Bears got the match point on a kill by sophomore middle blocker Lillian Schonewise. Cal then won the set on an attack error by Arizona.
In the second set the Golden Bears started out with a 7-4 lead, on the way to a 25-14 set victory. The Wildcats’ hitting percentage was only .026.
The third set started off promising for Arizona, as it got out to a 10-6 lead. Later in the set, the Wildcats pushed their lead to 19-13, then Cal’s head coach Rich Feller called a timeout.
After the timeout the Golden Bears regrouped and went on a 7-0 run to take a 20-19 lead. Arizona then tied the set at 20, but Cal scored three straight to take a 23-20 advantage. The Wildcats didn’t quit, and were only trailing 24-23 when a service error by Arizona gave Cal the set and the sweep of the match.
The Wildcats’ next match is Friday at 6 p.m. at home against Oregon.
—Follow Derek Evans @DerekEvans20