Wildcats get much needed win against No. 15 USC
Arizona outside hitter Tyler Spriggs (35) hits the ball over USC defense on Oct. 6 in McKale Center.
The Arizona volleyball team took a much needed win Friday night as they swept No. 15 USC in three intense sets.
Set one was back-and-forth and competitive throughout, but in the end Arizona pulled through taking the set, 25-23. After a loss against No. 13 UCLA, the Wildcats came out with a different mindset in general, playing much more aggressively.
Arizona displayed both their offensive and defensive skill during the set winning, 25-17. Offensively, they were able to get a lead with serving, especially from freshman outside hitter/opposite Katie Smoot. Defensively, the 'Cats racked up five blocks in the set led by sophomore middle blocker Devyn Cross.
In set three Arizona overcame a five point deficit early and won the set in dramatic fashion, 26-24.
The Wildcats took the court with a totally different mindset after their loss to UCLA, and were able to put together a complete game in all phases of the game, but Arizona head coach Dave Rubio said he knew eventually this team’s talent would shine through.
“I just know that eventually, because our talent can’t be denied, we are going to start to play better, and more consistently,” Rubio said.
Junior outside hitter Kendra Dahlke posted 11 kills on the night along with nine digs and three blocks. Freshman outside hitter Paige Whipple followed close to Dahlke with 10 kills to go along with six digs.
The defense of the Wildcats held sophomore Trojan outside hitter Khalia Lanier to just nine kills, her season low. Before the game, Lanier was 4th overall in the Pac-12 in kills. Dahlke said the ability to successfully defend USC came from practice, practice and more practice.
“Yesterday, we practiced specifically on blocking for about 30 minutes,” Dahlke said. “Just working on their hitter tendencies.”
This could be the big season-turning win the 'Cats needed as they were on a four match losing streak coming into the USC match.
The Wildcats look to build off the win against USC next Friday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. at McKale Center against Utah.
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