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Tuesday, September 2, 2014 | Last updated: 4:51pm

Arizona sand volleyball returns home



It’s only fitting for the Arizona sand volleyball players to finish their season at home after enduring a brutal road stretch the last month with a 2-11 record.

It was a comfortable environment that got this squad on the right track and kick-started its inaugural season at 5-0.

“To say we’re excited to come home would actually be an understatement,” head coach Steve Walker said. “It feels great to finally come home and play our game. But more than anything else, I think our players just want to put on a good show in front of the home crowd and compete as hard as they can.”

Walker said the start of the season was no fluke as Grand Canyon, a program they beat at home earlier in the season, has its No. 1 pair team competing in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Sand Volleyball National Championships on May 2.

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By Savannah Douglas / The Daily Wildcat
Junior Jane Croson (10) high fives teammate Madi Kingdon (9) during a home match. The University of Arizona sand volleyball team matches Boise State on Saturday.

Arizona (7-11) will not have much momentum going as it heads into its first match against No. 1 USC at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

The Wildcats lost 3-2 against ASU last night. After dropping their first two matches, the Wildcats tied the contest at 2-2.

The duo of freshmen Madison Witt and McKenna Witt, at the No. 2 position this time, lost 16-14 in the deciding third set of the game.

“ASU executed and competed a little bit better than we did in the early matches, as they tend to play better at home,” Walker said. “We sometimes served to the same player too many times, which would allow them to get in good rhythm.”

Arizona will finish the regular season at 1 p.m. when it takes on Boise State.

The early start against USC will not hamper the Wildcats in their quest to post a perfect 7-0 record at home, however. The players got used to the rude awakening of playing as early as 8 a.m. in previous tournaments.

“It’s a challenge to play early, as honestly it’s not about being the best team at that time,” junior Taylor Arizobal said. “It’s which squad makes [fewer] errors in these early games.”

The Trojans defeated Arizona soundly in their two matches earlier in the season. Junior Ronni Lewis said the players can’t allow opponents to dictate Arizona’s offense off the tough serves.

“It honestly comes down to passing, as it really helps better good ball control,” Lewis said. “We need to pass and put the ball where our hitters feel comfortable hitting the ball, and that is what is going to lead us to wins in the future.”

—Follow Tyler Keckeisen @tyler_keckeisen


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