Wildcats upset Ducks in five sets

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Jose Toro | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona outside hitter Elizabeth Shelton (17) kills the ball over the net against the No. 16 Oregon Ducks Sunday, Nov. 12 at McKale Center. 

Arizona volleyball's Kendra Dahlke dominated on the court during the match against No. 16 Oregon hitting a career high of 23 kills. Dahlke was able to help the Wildcats break their losing streak Sunday afternoon at McKale Center defeating the Ducks, 3-2 (26-24, 25-16, 24-21, 25-21,15-13).

The win improves Arizona to 4-12 in the Pac-12 and 10-15 overall. 

The Wildcats dropped the first two sets of the match to the Ducks, but were able to regroup and dominate through the next three sets for a much needed win. 

"It's nice to win a match like that," Arizona head coach Dave Rubio said. "Especially in the fashion of being down 2-0. I felt really proud of the kids and how they responded to the situation and playing well enough to win the match. Terrific win for us." 

Arizona started the match with powerful offense with the arms of Dahlke and freshman Candice Denny. The 'Cats were at a .636 hitting percentage early in the set, but soon fell apart toward the end letting the Ducks make their way back up the board to take set one, 26-24. 

UA's defense was unable to stop the Ducks leaving the Wildcats to trail behind by 13 points in the second set. Freshman Katie Smoot was able to add points to the board for Arizona with three straight service aces, but it wasn’t enough as Oregon took the set, 25-16. 

Both teams kept the score close through the third set tying it at 13, but Arizona broke through to take the lead leaving the Ducks to a five-point deficit. Arizona's Elizabeth Shelton came through with a kill to take the set, 25-21. 

Carrying the momentum into set four, Arizona's defense was able to fight off Oregon. The Wildcats took set, 25-21, forcing a fifth set. The Ducks put up a fight in the fifth set, but Julia Patterson made the block for Arizona to take the win, 15-13. 

"Being able to start down 0-2 to something we haven't yet accomplished this year is a huge deal to us being so young overall as a team," Dahlke said. "Being able to fight through means a lot."

Dahlke hit a season high with 23 kills in the match, followed by a career high's by Denny with 12 kills and 7 blocks. Patterson led the team in assist posting 45 along with 14 digs.  

"It feels good getting a career high," Denny said. "I personally have had a couple of rough matches so it feels good knowing I am doing something to contribute to our team winning. We [Denny and Dahlke] have both been working really hard in practice and coming off rough matched, but we were determined to win."

The Wildcats will be hitting the road for the next three matches in hopes to bring home a win against Colorado, Utah and Washington before closing out the regular season at home against rival Arizona State on Nov. 25.



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