Wildcats go undefeated in last invitational before conference play
Arizona volleyball won three games this weekend hosting the Wildcat Classic in McKale Center. Here's a rundown of each UA match.
UA vs. University of Tennessee at Martin
The Wildcats played Tennessee Martin to kick off the invitational on Friday. The Wildcats swept all three sets with scores of (25-19, 25-14, 29-27). Arizona was able to score a .266 hitting percentage while UTM had .000 throughout the game, and UTM made 27 errors while Arizona had only 13. Arizona put up eight blocks, five from Devyn Cross, four from Elizabeth Shelton and two from Candice Denny.
UA vs. New Mexico State Aggies
Last weekend at the Borderland Invitational, the Wildcats lost against the Aggies (25-16, 25-17, 25-23, 27-25, 15-12). But Friday night the Wildcats won with a score of (25-18, 26-24, 25-17), and UA head coach Dave Rubio earned his 500th career victory.
Arizona had 43 kills and 13 blocks, while New Mexico State had 28 kills and 3 blocks. Arizona scored a .205 in hitting percentage while New Mexico State had .094 in hitting percentage. Senior Kendra Dahlke got 15 kills while sophomore outside hitter, Paige Whipple contributed 11 to the effort. Shelton had four blocks and nine kills.
UA vs. UC, Davis Aggies
The Wildcats started the last match off strong, winning the first set 25-22. The Wildcats then fell to the Aggies in the second 25-22, but it was in the third set when the Wildcats made a comeback winning 25-20. Then, going into the fourth set, the Wildcats took the victory with 25-18.
Emi Pua’a, as a libero and defensive specialist, got 19 digs. Julia Patterson had 47 assists in this match in her position of setter. Malina Kalei Ua, a freshman, stepped in as a defensive specialist throughout the game. Dahlke had 16 kills, Whipple at 14 and Cross at 12. Patterson also had five blocks, just one under Cross, who had six. UC-Davis had seven blocks total for the game and 51 kills. Arizona had 61 kills and 10 blocks total.
Now that non-conference invitationals are over, Patterson reflected on the team performance so far.
“I think we did good in non-conference we really learned how to battle it through," Patterson said. "Like Dave [Rubio] was talking about the two games in one day, and then the next turn around is really rough. We are not used to playing this many games in one day so being able to emotionally stay in it and physically stay healthy and push through and [come] together as a team really helped us through non-conference.”
Whipple said she is ready to start playing Pac-12 games and the competition it will bring.
“I am really excited to get into the conference, play against some bigger teams, some more physical teams," Whipple said. "In the past couple of weekends we have played against just, like, pretty average-sized teams, and I think that in these next couple of weeks we are going to get a lot bigger, a lot stronger and more talented teams. So, I think we are ready to take on that challenge.”
The Arizona Wildcats will next take on rival ASU Sept. 20 in McKale at 7 p.m.
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