Volleyball splits the weekend

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Michael Ignatov | The Daily Wildcat Michael Ignatov / Arizona Daily Wildcat University of Arizona Volleyball team meets UCLA in an NCAA women's volleyball match at McKale Center, Tucson, Ariz., September 26, 2009. Arizona fell to UCLA 3-1, earning its first loss of the season.

Arizona volleyball suffered its first loss of the season this weekend after remaining perfect through the non-conference schedule and the first game of the Pacific 10 Conference.


After winning their first conference match of the season against No. 13 USC on Friday, the No. 19 Wildcats (12-1) lost to No. 14 UCLA. The Wildcats now stand at an even 1-1 in both conference play and against ranked teams this year.


Against the Bruins on Saturday, Arizona took the first set of the match with a score of 25-22. That would be the only set that Arizona would win, however, as the Wildcats dropped the next three consecutive sets.


The last play of the second set was contested by head coach Dave Rubio, as there was a ruling discrepancy between the line judge and the head referee. Rubio received a red card, and the referees awarded UCLA (11-4, 1-1) a point at the beginning of the third set.


Although the scores were close in the last three sets of the match, Arizona was unable to get anything going on the attack.


""I think we never really came together as a group,"" said junior outside hitter Tiffany Owens about the Wildcats' struggles. ""We couldn't pass to save our lives.""


Arizona's loss was due in large part to its dismal attacking percentage of just .101. Owens had a team-high 12 kills for Arizona, but could not match the game high of 20 by UCLA junior Dicey McGraw.


""I think we learned all kinds of things from this match: how to prepare, what this conference is and what has,"" junior setter Paige Weber said of Arizona's learning curve.


The Wildcats' struggles stemmed from playing behind for much of the third and fourth sets. Although they battled back, they could never establish an effective offensive attack.


""We didn't execute well,"" Rubio said. ""I tell the girls all the time that the team that is going to win is the team that executes the best. We didn't execute well at all after the first set.""


The Wildcats defeated No. 13 USC in four sets Friday night. Arizona struck early against the Trojans, taking the first and second sets before dropping the third. The Women of Troy (12-2, 1-1 Pac-10) would take the third set before finally falling in the fourth.


Arizona was able to find attacking points all over the court. Three players recorded double-digit kills. Senior middle blocker Jacy Norton had 11 kills for the Wildcats while Owens recorded 16 and sophomore middle blocker Courtney Karst had 10.


Weber also ran up the stat sheet, recording 46 assists in the match against USC.


The Wildcats continue Pac-10 play next weekend at Washington and Washington State.


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