Arizona held Red-Blue scrimmage over weekend

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Savannah Douglas | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona sand volleyball players and twins Madison Witt (23) and McKenna Witt (21) laugh together after chasing a spike to the ground during the team's Red-Blue Scrimmage at Jimenez Field in March 2015. 

Arizona sand volleyball had its first showing on Saturday at its Red-Blue Scrimmage, which gave the Wildcats the opportunity to play in front of a crowd. After many months of closed practices, Arizona will take on TCU in its season opener on Friday.

“I thought it was a good showing for the group,” Arizona coach Steve Walker said. “It’s really good for our young players to come out and see what its like on a weekend. It’s much different than our work week.”

The match gave both newcomers and returners the chance to test out the skills that they have been working on in practice. Walker said he was happy with some of the skills he saw, but he also said there are areas that need to be improved before the season begins.

“Offensively, I liked how aggressive we were,” Walker said. “I still think, at times, we were over aggressive and trying to score with velocity and not necessarily using the whole court.”

Walker praised the team for its serving as well, but he has some other skills he wants to focus on in practice this week before the start of the Wildcats’ season.

“For us, one big emphasis in practice this next week will be to locate in our shot making,” Walker said.

The scrimmage also gave the team an opportunity to compete with a variety of partners and gave Walker more information about who he will select as his seeds for the top six this season.

Walker said he is closer to his selection, but for now, it may go week by week, largely based on health. He is also still working on pairing the right players together.

Two pairings that performed well in the scrimmage were seniors Madi Kingdon and Kaitlyn Leary, along with sophomores Madison Witt and McKenna Witt.

“I think, today, we competed really well,” Leary said. “We had some good competition, and it was nice to compete in front of people.”

Leary also agreed with Walker that she and her teammates will need to dedicate some focus to their shots in practice in preparation for the start of their season.

Witt said they were often trying to speed up the game and make quick plays, such as hitting to make it easier on themselves, instead of focusing on shots.

Sisters McKenna Witt and Madison Witt are often paired and perform well because of the familiarity they have playing together.

“When we’re together, we just flow, and we feel a lot more comfortable playing with each other,” McKenna Witt said. “The team chemistry that a lot of people have to work years for, we have naturally.”

Other pairs that performed well during the scrimmage were seniors Rachel Rhoades and Kendall Polan, along with sophomore Sarah Seiber and freshman Hailey Devlin.

Olivia Macdonald, Sarah Seiber, Kaitlyn Leary and Rachel Rhoades led the team in kills.

While the Red-Blue Scrimmage did not name an outright winner, the team gained valuable information about skills that need to be focused on and had an opportunity to experience a game-like atmosphere before the season starts.

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