Senior outside hitter Madi Kingdon is more than just another player to Arizona’s volleyball team.
Kingdon, who was named to the Preseason All-Pac-12 Team for the second consecutive year, returns to the court after earning All-Pac-12 honors and AVCA All-American honorable mention last season.
Senior libero Ronni Lewis and outside hitter Taylor Arizobal have been teammates of Kingdon since the three entered the UA’s volleyball program as freshmen four years ago.
“Madi is a huge part of the team,” Arizobal said. “She brings a high level of intensity in practice everyday and really provides us with a great vibe. When she’s on, it gets the whole team going.”
Since bursting onto the collegiate scene in 2011, Kingdon has continued to garner national acclaim as one of the top volleyball players in the highly competitive Pac-12.
Last season, Kingdon led the league in points (597) and was ranked fourth and fifth in the conference in kills (508) and service aces (36), respectively. She also finished tied for third in the conference with 19 double-doubles.
This year, Kingdon said that she’s excited to see how far the team will go and that every year, her goal is to make it further than the previous year. This would mean striving for a Sweet 16 berth this winter.
Last season, the Wildcats were eliminated in the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 after dropping three sets to San Diego.
In last weekend’s red-blue game, Kingdon showed no signs of slowing down for her senior campaign as she tallied 21 kills, four service aces, seven digs and an assist to accompany a .366 hitting percentage.
“[We] really rally around [Kingdon],” Lewis said. “She leads by example, and we can count on her for points. Whenever we’re in a jam, I know that she can take the hit of being ‘I need to be the one to score.’ She’s a good, strong motivator and influences the team in many of positive ways.”
Arizona volleyball head coach Dave Rubio said that Kingdon is, without saying, the squad’s marquee player. This will be her fourth year starting, and he said he thinks the challenge for her will be to continue to be driven to get better.
Rubio explained that it’s a lot easier when you have other players in the gym that you’re chasing, knowing that they’re better than you.
“I really think there’s a process that goes in learning how to work at your craft [successfully] every single day,” Rubio said. “But the elite players find a way to continue to strive to be better, and that’s what I talk to Madi about all the time.”
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