No. 14 Arizona preps for Washington State following loss

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Alex McIntyre | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona's Kalei Mau (10) spikes against Oregon in McKale Center during the Wildcats' sweep of Oregon on Sunday, Sept. 27. The Wildcats play Washington State this weekend.

Arizona volleyball continued its gauntlet of a schedule as the No. 14 Wildcats took on No. 6 Washington in Seattle on Wednesday and came away empty-handed. 

The Huskies won in four sets to bring their record to 14-1 on the season with their lone loss coming to top-ranked USC.

Arizona came out with guns blazing in the first set (25-17), before losing two straight hard-fought sets (22-25, 25-27). The Wildcats made a few runs in the fourth set, but ultimately fell (17-25) to bring their record to 12-5 on the season.

Kalei Mau led the Wildcats’ attack with 23 kills. Penina Snuka tallied her fourth straight double-double with 46 assists and 13 digs to go along with two kills and two aces.

After starting the season 8-0, the Wildcats have alternated between wins and losses in their last nine matchups and a win Friday in Pullman, Washington, would only extend that trend. 

With the loss to Washington, Arizona is now 0-6 to the top nine teams in the country and 12-0 against teams ranked outside of the top nine. 

The Wildcats will have plenty of other opportunities to prove their mettle, however, as the Pac-12 Conference has four teams ranked in the top seven and five in the top 12.

The Wildcats continue their two-week road trip as they travel to Pullman today to face Washington State, a team benefitting from five days of rest. 

The Wildcats swept the Cougars last season as they won 3-1 at home and 3-2 on the road and, historically, the Wildcats have dominated this matchup with a 63-15 all-time record including the last four games between the two. 

While the Cougars are unranked, they are a more than formidable opponent as they come into the match 12-4 on the season. All of their conference losses came to top-12 teams in USC, Washington and UCLA, so Arizona cannot afford to overlook them.

The Wildcats’ balanced attack will be key for them as they lead the conference in digs with 16.39, while not placing any individual in the top 10. They also rank second in assists, due in part, to Snuka’s conference-high of 11.26 per set. Snuka also ranks second overall in kills where Mau ranks third in the conference with 4.64 kills per set.

The Cougars are led by junior outside-hitter Kyra Holt, who is fourth in the conference in kills and third in total points per set. Haley Macdonald is also more than competent as a setter as she sits at third in the conference in assists at 10.56 per set. 

The Wildcats will not return to Tucson until October 23 when Colorado comes to town, but all games will be broadcasted on Pac-12 Networks. 

Arizona’s matchup with Washington State will begin tonight at 6 p.m.


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