Wildcats volleyball upsets No. 1 USC in straight sets
Arizona indoor volleyball upset No. 1 USC, 3-0, to earn its first victory over a top-ranked team in 20 years.
The Wildcats (15-5, 5-3 Pac-12) had an effectively perfect weekend, sweeping both the Trojans and UCLA at McKale Center. Arizona’s last win over a No. 1 team was Nov. 3, 1993, when it beat UCLA. The last time it swept the Los Angeles schools back-to-back was in 2001, the year of the Wildcats’ Final Four appearance, and Sunday’s win was the Wildcats’ first-ever 3-0 win over a top-ranked team.
“I told the team, I don’t remember the last time we swept the L.A. schools,” head coach Dave Rubio said. “When you have some unconditional belief and a lot of faith, some great things can happen.”
The Wildcats have gone 5-1 since starting Pac-12 play 0-2.
Ryan Revock/The Daily Wildcat
“I really wasn’t expecting us to sweep them, honestly, but I’m so glad that we did,” said junior outside hitter Madi Kingdon.
Kingdon had the winning point during the third set as she led the team in kills with 20 for the match.
“I just think tonight, a lot of things came together for us,” Kingdon said.
Freshman setter Penina Snuka had 43 assists.
“Having [Penina] on the court is a really good thing for us,” Kingdon said. “I think it brings up our energy a lot.”
The Wildcats had a slow third set when the Trojans led 4-0 before Arizona called for a timeout.
Arizona managed to get on the board after the timeout, but the Trojans were aggressive on the other side of the court, as they continued to strike with an 8-4 lead.
The set had its turning point when Arizona caught up and tied it 11-11.
The Wildcats forced USC to a timeout when they took the lead 17-14.
After the timeout, USC battled the set out, but fell short as the Wildcats won it 25-21.
On Friday, the Wildcats opened the weekend with the UCLA Bruins, whom they swept in three sets (25-22, 25-20, 25-20).
Arizona made no errors throughout the match, while UCLA recorded 10. Although the Bruins out-hit the Wildcats, UA finished with a 7-5 advantage for blocks.
UCLA forced an Arizona timeout during the first set when the Bruins were up 22-21. After the timeout, Arizona managed to get the next two points, making the match 23-22, and the Bruins went on timeout as well.
The Wildcats went on to take the set 25-22.
During the second set, Arizona had the 7-4 advantage before UCLA answered with four straight points, taking the 8-7 lead. The Bruins had a 15-12 lead before deciding to take a timeout, when Arizona took advantage of UCLA’s timeout and hit five straight points to get the lead back.
The Wildcats did not allow the Bruins to take the lead again at any time of the set, which they won 25-20.
Arizona started the last set with a 9-3 lead and finished 25-20.
Kingdon was the offensive leader, as she finished with 13 kills for the night.
The Wildcats face Colorado on the road this upcoming Friday. On Sunday they play at the University of Utah.
—Follow Rose Aly Valenzuela @RoseAlyVal