The Arizona volleyball team came close to upsetting two ranked teams this weekend but dropped the fourth set in an afternoon showdown with No. 6 USC. The 1-3 (22-25, 25-23, 20-25, 23-25) loss came after the Wildcats upset defending national
champion No. 6 UCLA.
The Wildcats stayed in the game taking the second set from the Trojans but despite close matches in the remainder of the game, USC came out with the win.
Sophomore Madi Kingdon led the team with 18 kills and freshman Olivia Magill had the highest team hitting percentage at 0.375. Both teams were very active on offense with a combined 110 kills split even between each team with 55. Sophomore opposite Shaquillah Torres hit a career high .333 and recorded 11 kills with three consecutive kills in the 4th set to keep Arizona in the game until the very last point.
“Since the Oregon State match our practices have been very, very good in fact this week was probably our best week of practice,” head coach Dave Rubio said.
Junior libero Candace Nicholson sat out for the weekend with the flu. Sophomore defensive specialist Ronni Lewis stepped in for Nicholson and recorded career-high numbers with 20 kills against UCLA and 15 digs against USC.
“I work hard every day and I try to bring a lot to the team and when my team needs me I’ll be there,” Lewis said.
Rubio said Lewis is one of the hardest working players and expected Lewis to perform well at libero this weekend.
An upset win over No. 5 UCLA is a season highlight for the Wildcats.
“There was just a vibe on the court, I knew we were going to win,” sophomore middle blocker Rachel Rhoades said.
In its first matchups this season against USC and UCLA, Arizona was swept by both opponents, but not this time around. Despite coming so close to taking out two back-to-back ranked teams, the win over UCLA is still a big boost for Arizona.
“It’s a signature win for us, it gives us some clout when it comes to NCAA selection,” Rubio said. “But we still have a lot of season left, we still have four weeks to go and there’s a lot of things that can happen.”