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UA wins close over rival ASU

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Rebecca Marie Sansett | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona Wildcats celebrate after their 3-2 win against ASU in McKale Center on Wednesday. Arizona won after a block by ASU went out of bounds on the match point during the fifth set.

Senior outside hitter Madi Kingdon tallied 20 kills and 15 digs, leading No. 18 Arizona volleyball to a 3-2 (21-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-27, 15-13) triumph over No. 19 ASU in front of an audience of 3,574 people Wednesday night in McKale Center.

Sophomore setter Penina Snuka and junior middle blocker Halli Amaro led the way defensively for the UA. Snuka compiled 60 assists and 18 digs, while Amaro notched 12 kills.

“I’m really happy with the way our team competed,” Kingdon said. “There were things that went well for us and things that didn’t tonight. We need to work on finishing the game out, but in the end, we got the win, and that’s all that really matters.”

A sloppy start caused Arizona to lose its first set at home this season. Early errors by Kingdon and freshman McKenzie Jacobson allowed ASU to gain momentum and jump out to an early 10-3 lead. Arizona soon adjusted to the Sun Devils’ gameplay and began to pull things together, closing the gap within two points after a 5-0 run. ASU remained strong, however, and held off a late Arizona surge to take the first set 21-25.

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The Sun Devils began the second set by establishing another early advantage. This time, Arizona was much quicker to retaliate. Arizona chipped away until finally tying the score at 15. However, ASU responded by pulling ahead 20-17.

Arizona grabbed its first lead of the night when a block by Snuka lifted the Wildcats to a 22-21 advantage. Consecutive kills from Ashley Harris, combined with a Sun Devil attack error, was all Arizona needed to tie the series at one set apiece.

In the third set, the UA jumped out front and quickly established a lead. Two of the Wildcats’ first four points came via Sun Devil serve errors, and it wasn’t long before the UA threatened to pull ahead. Arizona extended its lead to 17-8 following a 10-3 run.

A trio of kills by Kingdon put Arizona on the right track to open the fourth set, but the Wildcats found their lead quickly slipping away after committing costly errors. ASU grabbed a 7-6 lead before an Arizona run propelled the Wildcats to a 10-8 advantage. The Sun Devils tied the score at 10, but two kills by Jacobson and an offensive error by ASU outside hitter Macey Gardner helped the UA to a 13-10 lead.

The Wildcats and the Sun Devils battled within four points until ASU took the lead. Arizona immediately responded to tie it up 25-25 but seemed to be caught off guard as two ASU kills forced a decisive fifth set.

After starting the final set down by three, Arizona rallied and surged ahead on a 6-1 run and threw the final punch necessary to beat ASU and secure its Pac-12 Conference-leading 12th victory of the year.

“I’m proud of our kids,” UA head coach Dave Rubio said. “They kept fighting and found a way to pull it off. It certainly wasn’t the prettiest, but they hung in there.”
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Follow Evan Rosenfeld on Twitter @EvanRosenfeld17


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (11/30)
442 8 1.8%
Total (8/2)
61,708 982 1.6%
Includes tests since August 2, 2021
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated November 30, 2021