Sand volleyball host ASU on senior night

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Emily Gauci | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona sand volleyball player McKenna Witt (21) hits the ball while Madison Witt (23) looks on during Arizona's 5-0 win against New Mexico at Jimenez Field on April 4. The Wildcats host ASU for senior night on Wednesday.

Arizona sand volleyball hosts its last match of the regular season at 4:30 p.m. in Tucson against ASU. No. 10 Arizona will fight to maintain its undefeated 7-0 home record and improve on its 15-3 overall record.

The Wildcats took home the victory in the last two meetings with ASU. The Wildcats took down the Sun Devils, 3-2, during the Pac-12 Team Invitational over the weekend in Santa Monica, Calif.

Arizona first faced ASU earlier this season during the Sun Devils’ ASU Sand Volleyball Challenge in Tempe. The Wildcats went undefeated in the tournament, defeated ASU, 4-1, and were named the ASU Sand Volleyball Challenge Champions.

Tonight’s match will be the Wildcats’ first sand volleyball Red Out and will honor the seniors of both teams.

Arizona seniors Emily Kiser, Taylor Arizobal, Rachel Rhoades, Allie Cook, Kendall Polan, Taylor Lane, Kaitlyn Leary and Madi Kingdon will be recognized prior to the start of the match, along with ASU’s Jordy Checkal and Bethany Jorgensen.

Many of these seniors have plans to continue in the volleyball community after their time at Arizona comes to an end. Unfortunately for some, that time was short-lived.

Leary transferred to Arizona from Ohio State this season. Arizona coach Steve Walker said he wishes he could have had her for all four years.

“Kaitlyn [Leary] has been just a blessing for the program. … She is from a great family and really possesses that Midwest work ethic that you love to coach,” Walker said, “and she’s just been great for us, and it will be a sad day when she’s done.”

Polan, who previously played at Yale, is another transfer to the program this season.

Polan and Leary competed together for the first time this season during the Pac-12 Invitational. The duo defeated ASU and UCLA in the team invitational and made it into the quarterfinals of the pairs invitational, where they were defeated by teammates Madison and McKenna Witt, who placed second in the tournament.

Leary typically competes alongside Kingdon, who will also be greatly missed by the Wildcats. The pair is nearly perfect when in their usual No. 1 spot for Arizona, tying the Witt sisters, who have spent most of the season as Arizona’s No. 2 team.

Walker said Kingdon has really rounded out her skill set in her time at Arizona and could have a great future playing sand volleyball full-time, despite her aspirations of playing indoor volleyball overseas.

Although the Wildcats will be losing eight dynamic athletes, there is still plenty of talent among the non-seniors on the team. Some of those athletes include Hailey Devlin and Sarah Seiber, who boast a 17-6 record together as Arizona’s No. 5 team.

Madison and McKenna Witt will also continue to contribute to the Wildcats’ success. The duo currently has a 14-1 record as Arizona’s No. 2 team and has collected a 7-3 record in the past few matches, taking over as the No. 1 team.

The duel between Arizona and ASU will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks.

This match is the last time this season to see what Walker deemed “The Best Kept Secret in Tucson” hit the sand on its home court.

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Follow Jordyn Owen on Twitter.


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