SandCats drop first game of season against LMU, 1-4

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Cyrus Norcross | The Daily Wildcat Jaclyn Inclan (20) spikes the ball toward the opposing team, Abilene Christian University, during the Cactus Classic on Sunday Feb. 25 at Bear Down Beach in Tucson, Ariz.

This morning, the ‘Cats played their final match of the Arizona Invitational against LMU at Bear Down Beach and were not able to win the best three-out-of-five match against the Lions, giving the SandCats their first loss of the tournament and of the season. 

Arizona was only able to win one out of the five matches against the Lions behind the performance of senior Olivia MacDonald and sophomore Natalie Anselmo.

MacDonald and Anselmo were the only Wildcat pair to win against LMU. The sophomore-senior combo took three sets to beat LMU’s Savannah Slattery and McKayla Ferris. After losing the first set 12-21, MacDonald and Anselmo defeated Slattery and Ferris 21-16 and 15-13 in the second and third sets, respectively.

“Obviously it’s a disappointment losing the game, but we definitely have a lot to learn from it. Like coach [Walker] said, ‘you can’t teach experience,’” said Anselmo after the team’s first loss.

Junior Mia Mason and sophomore Brooke Burling were able to force a third set game against LMU’s Veronica Nederend and Maddie Leiphardt but didn’t come up with the win. The pair won the first set 21-1 but lost the second set 19-21. In the third set, Mason and Burling were neck-and-neck with Nederend and Leiphardt but lost it 20-22.

Caroline Cordes and Jonny Baham, one of the first two groups to take the courts this morning, played two close sets against LMU’s Bozena Culo and Emma Doud. The pair lost the first set 17-21 and wasn’t able to force a third set with a 16-21 loss in the second set.

The No. 2 team for the ‘Cats, Olivia Hallaran and Kacey Nady, wasn’t able to give the team a second point on the game as they dropped the first set 15-21 and second set 11-21. Towards the end of their match, the pair looked exhausted as they finished up their third game of the weekend.

The Wildcats loss to the Lions was their first of the season, bringing their overall record to 5-1.

“Losing is a part of the game, and hopefully it’ll make us better,” noted Anselmo as she looks ahead to the future. “We’re going out there [the next game against Long Beach State] with nothing to lose, so we need to make the best of it."

The SandCats will play against Long Beach State in the IVC Tri-Match on the road in Irvine, Calif. on Tuesday, March 6.


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