In this past weekend’s Top 25 volleyball matchup, No. 21 Arizona suffered its first loss of the season after being swept by No. 2 Texas (25-19, 25-21, 25-20) in the first match of the 26 West Longhorn Classic in Austin, Texas.
In Arizona’s match against the No. 2 Longhorns on Friday, an overwhelming offense combined with a barrage of errors proved to be enough to silence the Wildcats and sweep them in straight sets.
The UA was led by strong performances by senior outside hitter Madi Kingdon and sophomore setter Penina Snuka, who compiled 21 kills, and 32 assists and 15 digs, respectively.
However, Arizona gave away free points to Texas after committing 12 service errors and 20 attack errors over the three sets.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t play better,” UA head coach Dave Rubio said. “Some of that was Texas, and some of that was us. It’s frustrating, but it provides valuable experience for what we’re going to face in the [Pac-12] Conference.”
The Wildcats (8-1), who concluded the tournament on Saturday after beating Florida A&M 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-13) and Central Florida 3-1 (25-22, 25-21, 25-20, 25-23), struggled offensively and averaged 2.1 service errors and 4.4 attack errors per set over the three matches.
Kingdon and Snuka were named to the All-Tournament team for their efforts in the games. Snuka amassed 108 assists and recorded her fifth, sixth and seventh double-doubles of the season. Kingdon gathered 58 kills on the weekend and notched her 5th 20-plus-kill match of the year (20th in her career).
“I thought we were flat against Florida A&M,” Rubio said in a press release. “I didn’t think we were very prepared, [and] that was my fault. We were sloppy and played just well enough to win.”
The Wildcats let the Rattlers come back with late rally in the first set but ultimately gained control of the situation to come away with the 25-20 win. The second set opened with Florida A&M grabbing a big lead early — leading the UA by as many as five points.
Arizona had to battle back and was finally able to prove itself after pulling ahead to win by two points. In the third set, the Wildcats opened with a 7-0 run and cruised to a 25-13 victory to end the match.
Senior outside hitter Taylor Arizobal and senior middle blocker Rachel Rhoades led the team with 12 and nine kills, respectively. Senior libero Ronni Lewis gathered 10 digs and two service aces and Snuka compiled 34 assists and 12 digs.
In the match against UCF, Arizona continued to struggle with sloppy offense and hit .226 over four sets. After battling to take the first set, the Wildcats were unable to protect themselves from the Knights in the second, who led by as many as seven points.
UCF and Arizona traded a set of runs and the lead early in the third and fourth sets before establishing their dominance and holding strong down the stretch.
Kingdon tied her season high of 23 kills against the Knights while Snuka led the way with a season-high 42 assists and 17 digs for her seventh double-double through the first nine games of the season.
“I thought the UCF win was a hard-fought victory,” Rubio said in a press release. “We weren’t that sharp, but I really liked how we battled and competed. We were down big in the third and really dug deep to pull it out.”
—Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17