Beach volleyball season ends after loss to Washington at Pac-12 championships
Arizona's Olivia Macdonald jumps to block the ball during the UA-Cal beach volleyball game on Saturday, April 22.
In the second day of the Pac-12 Tournament, Arizona beach volleyball saw their season come to an end with a loss to seven-seeded Washington 4-1.
According to head coach Steve Walker, this loss most likely means No. 8 Arizona (15-9) will not receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s very disappointing,” Walker said. “We came up short of our goals.”
When a season ends, coaches usually reveal the injuries that the players were fighting off during the season, and Walker did.
“We had some pretty severe cramping last night for some of our players,” Walker said. “Some intestinal issues at well.”
Natalie Anselmo experienced cramping in her quadriceps that would put her in five minute intervals of agony, according to teammate Olivia Macdonald. However, she did recover enough to play, and win her match against Washington.
Arizona’s No. 1 pair, seniors Madison and Mckenna Witt, looked fatigued in their match against Washington’s Crissy Jones and Tia Scambray. They were actually facing intestinal problems.
Madison Witt took a lot of breaks in between plays during practice this week, but didn’t heal in time for the tournament.
“Madison was feeling super nauseous,” Macdonald said. “The entire season the twins been having stomach problems.”
The Witts were unavailable for comment.
The Washington match started with 16 mph winds that had the teams holding onto their sideline umbrellas to keep them from floating away. Even though Arizona was hosting, the humidity and cloud covered skies had Washington feeling a little more at home.
To begin the match, Washington took four of the five first sets. At this point, Arizona would need a hard fought comeback to win. The Wildcats stayed within reach of the of the Huskies in their second sets, but couldn’t get over the hump and into the lead.
“It’s super disappointing, super upsetting,” Macdonald said after the loss. “It’s hard to accept; it doesn’t feel real. The season’s over in just a blink of an eye and they played awesome. Their No. 1 team is on fire. Best team won of the day, I guess.”
Washington (11-6) was swept by USC in the semifinals, but is a program on the rise.
“I knew Washington would be a dangerous team, talking to the other head coaches,” Walker said. “I knew that the talent they have, they have some experienced beach players, even though they’re mainly indoor players playing beach.”
Now, the Wildcats look forward next season, where the pressure will most likely be on Macdonald and her partner, Olivia Hallaran, to fill the shoes of the Witts.
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