Swept in the Northwest
The Wildcats volleyball team suffered a disappointing weekend on the road, falling twice in one weekend for the first time all season and failing to win a set in six tries.
""I think we were all disappointed in how we played,"" head coach Dave Rubio said. ""It's without question the toughest match.""
After last weekend's loss against then-No. 14 UCLA, the question for No. 18 Arizona was how the team would respond on the road in a tough environment against the Washington schools. The answer was not in the Wildcats' favor.
Arizona (12-3, 1-3 Pacific 10 Conference) has now suffered three straight losses after opening the season 12-0. Both Washington schools handled the Wildcats in three sets, something that had not been done all season.
The team's loss to the No. 3 Washington Huskies marked the fifth-straight time Arizona has lost to one of the Washington schools. The Huskies (14-0, 4-0 Pac-10) beat the Wildcats easily by limiting their attack and forcing errors.
""Every aspect of our game struggled,"" Rubio said of the team's play against the Huskies. ""We were on our heels from the first serve. We never really competed in that match. Our serve-receive was the first part of that, and it just dominoed from that in terms of not being able to execute.""
The Huskies' leading scorer, junior outside hitter Kindra Carlson, notched twice the number of kills as UA junior outside hitter Tiffany Owens, who had eight. The Wildcat attack averaged a match percentage of .094, after recording -.065 in the second set.
The loss to Washington was the second loss to a ranked team this season for Arizona, while the loss to the Washington State Cougars was the first against an unranked team.
The weekend started off surprisingly when the Wildcats were upset Friday night by the Cougars (14-1, 3-1 Pac-10), who took the early 5-0 lead in the first set in Pullman, Wash.
Arizona would stage a comeback, running the score 24-21 before falling 25-21. It was the first time all season the Wildcats didn't win the opening set in a match.
As the match continued, Arizona fought to take control, but to no avail. The second set was much closer, with three lead changes and nine ties.
""Friday night's match (against Washington State) was a game that we never really felt comfortable playing because of the style of volleyball they played,"" Rubio said.
Although the Wildcats tallied more kills than the Cougars in the match, they also tallied more errors.
Arizona's biggest chance came when it took a 10-4 lead to start the third set. Arizona held the set point at 24-19 before allowing Washington State to score seven straight points, the last coming on a service ace for the Cougars to close out the match.
""When you're up 24-19,"" Rubio said, ""most people think you would be able to score one point.""
Owens recorded a game-high 18 kills in the match while fellow junior outside hitter Whitney Dosty hit 10.
Arizona returns home this weekend to battle the Oregon schools. The Oregon State Beavers will make the trek to Tucson on Friday before the No. 7 Oregon Ducks take on Arizona Saturday night.
""We just need to gets back to basics,"" Rubio said. ""We haven't been executing well, not nearly at the same efficiency rate. It just comes down to that factor.""