Volleyball spikes ASU to win Pac-12 opener

Amy Bailey | The Daily Wildcat After scoring the final point of the match, the Wildcats celebrate.

The Arizona Wildcats volleyball team hosted rival ASU and beat the Sun Devils (25-18, 25-21, 25-18) in front of 2,685 fans at the McKale Center on Sept. 20. The Wildcats begin Pac-12 play with a big victory.

Each set, either the Wildcats or the Sun Devils were chasing to get ahead, with every point being close. The Wildcats pulled through to earn the win of the game.

“In a young season, getting that first win in the conference is a big deal. It is always nice to do it against your in state rival,” UA head coach Dave Rubio said.

Sophomore outside hitter Katie Smoot was skillful at the net, bringing in five blocks and nine kills. Alongside her was sophomore middle blocker Shardonee Hayes with nine kills and three blocks after coming back into the game from concussion protocol. 

Wildcat Katie Smoot (6) hits the ball through ASU and scores during the Arizona-Arizona State game at the McKale Memorial Center on Sept. 20, 2018 in Tucson, Az. The Wildcats beat ASU 3-0.

“I think for offensively it was just putting the ball in the court where we knew the defense wasn’t and using the block to our advantage and being able to tool it really helped us tonight,” Smoot said.

For Hayes, playing in an important game for her team was something she said she had been working toward for the last few seasons.

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“Coming from two years of not playing, to playing this year and starting, it was very exciting for me,” Hayes said.  

Even with a key win, Rubio said the team has its work cut out for them.

“We have a tall order now. We’re on the road now for the next three matches, we’ll see what we do. Right now everyone is chasing Stanford in the conference, they really look like they are postseason form at this point, but we will give it a shot," Rubio said. 

The Wildcats next play the Stanford Cardinals on Sept. 23rd, at noon. 

Game notes:

  • The Wildcats hitting percentage was .233 while ASU’s was .144. 
  • ASU had three blocks and the Wildcats had 12.0 total for the match. 
  • Senior outside hitter Kendra Dahlke had 14 kills total in the game. Dahlke is the Pac-12 leader for kills. 
  • ASU’s senior outside hitter, Alyse Ford also had 14 kills in the game. 

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