No. 16 Arizona volleyball sweeps South Dakota to begin Invitational

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Rebecca Noble | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona setter Penina Snuka (20) jumps to block a spike by USC on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014.

Arizona volleyball had an impressive performance in their first game in McKale Center this season, sweeping South Dakota in three straight sets.

The Wildcats got off to a quick start in the first set, taking a 12-2 lead. South Dakota looked to make a comeback, but the deficit was too much to overcome and the Wildcats took the first set by a 25-13 score.

The second set proved to be the most highly contested. After being up 9-8, it looked as though the Wildcats would win the set easily after winning five points in a row and going up 14-8. This was not case, as South Dakota slowly cut the lead, eventually tying it at 20-20.

South Dakota ended up taking a 23-22 lead, just two points from making the score one set a piece. The Wildcats then claimed three points in a row to steal the second set from the Coyotes.

“It was good to get pressed a bit in game two,” Rubio said.

Even if it means losing, Rubio said he wants to see his team play in pressure situations so they will be prepared when Pac-12 Conference play begins in the ensuing weeks.

After a tight second set, the Wildcats stormed to a 7-1 lead in the third set and eventually closed out the match with a 25-14 win.

Penina Snuka had all but five of the teams 42 assists. Snuka also tallied eight digs along with Mackenzie Kleespies. Laura Larson added seven. Kendra Dahlke and Kalei Mau both had 11 kills. Nikki Attea had nine and McKenzie Jacobson had seven.

After the match, Attea and Snuka talked about how great it felt to be in front of the home crowd. For Attea, a transfer student, this was her first time playing in front of the fans in McKale Center.

“I was really excited to step on the court [in] McKale [Center] for the first time,” Attea said. “I think our team did a really good job of coming out strong in the home opener.”

The Wildcats will have little time to enjoy their sweep of South Dakota, as the Arizona Invitational continues Saturday. They will play Florida A&M at 10 a.m., followed by Cal State Northridge at 7 p.m.


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