Arizona volleyball sweeps Green Bay Tournament
The 2014 Arizona volleyball season kicked off with a bang as the Wildcats overthrew South Dakota, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Kansas State to sweep the Green Bay Tournament and begin the year 3-0.
Senior outside hitter Madi Kingdon was named the tournament MVP and Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after recording two 20-plus-kill matches, two double-doubles and 64 kills on 144 swings (.361 hitting percentage) over the weekend. Furthermore, Kingdon amassed 33 digs, eight blocks, four service aces and two assists.
“I think we played extremely well,” Kingdon said. “Of course, there are always kinks to be worked out, but that being said, I think we showed a good fight.”
Fellow teammates Ronni Lewis and Penina Snuka also earned spots on the all-tournament team. Lewis, a senior libero, and Snuka, a sophomore setter, proved to be instrumental in Arizona’s victories against South Dakota and Green Bay.
UA senior outside hitter Madi Kingdon digs the ball during the volleyball game against ASU on Nov. 29, 2013 in McKale Center. Kingdon was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week last week after her performances during the Green Bay Tournament this past weekend.
Snuka recorded three double-doubles in as many games after compiling 40 assists and a team-leading 18 digs against South Dakota, 36 assists and 13 digs against Green Bay and 40 assists and 14 digs in the final match against Kansas State.
Over the course of the tournament, Lewis tallied 46 digs and 15 assists but really kicked it up a notch in Arizona’s showdown against Green Bay, leading the squad with 21 digs while dishing out five assists.
Arizona dispatched Kansas State 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 26-24) in the de facto tournament championship. Both teams entered the game undefeated, but the UA made easy work of the Kansas State Wildcats. In the end, Kingdon ended up being the deciding factor and led her team to victory with 23 kills, 15 digs and three blocks.
Arizona held Kansas State to a .147 hitting percentage but ran into some trouble in the third set. After leading for the majority of the set, Arizona gave way to a 5-0 Kansas State run and was down 21-18. However, Arizona went on a 5-3 run to tighten the score at 24-23 before securing the final three points of the set.
In Saturday’s game against host Green Bay, the Wildcats’ defense held the Phoenix to a dismal .128 hitting percentage while the UA cruised to a 3-0 (25-15, 25-12, 25-21) victory. Arizona hit a .298 percentage in the match and senior middle blocker Rachel Rhoades continued to produce for the Wildcats, compiling seven kills, a service ace, three digs and a block while hitting at a .545 clip.
Arizona defeated South Dakota 3-1 in the tournament opener, winning the first, third and fourth sets 25-20, 25-20 and 25-19 respectively. The Wildcats fell to South Dakota in the second set, 20-25. The Coyotes were the only team to take a set from the UA this weekend.
While Arizona was poised and dominant in the first set, the second set gave way to seven attack errors, which allowed South Dakota to capitalize on a 12-4 run and eventually take the set 25-20.
Kingdon said that it was exciting to finally start playing live matches. The team had been in the gym practicing and training since Aug. 9, and the players were ready to put their work to the test.
“This being our first showing of the year, I am immensely proud of my team and how we battled this weekend,” Kingdon said. “I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season has in store for us.”
—Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17