Arizona volleyball kicked off its 2018 season by going undefeated in the Hornet Invitational, defeating California State University, Northridge; Utah State University and Sacramento State University. The Wildcats’ victories were led by senior Kendra Dahlke and junior Julia Patterson.
Arizona vs Cal State Northridge:
The Wildcats led the charge right out of the gate with a dominant performance against CSUN, a 3-0 sweep (25-17, 25-14, 25-19).
In the three-set match, the ‘Cats hit 0.463, including 46 kills and 80 total attacks. This performance gives Arizona the best in a season opener in Wildcat history.
To aid in this unmatched feat, Kendra Dahlke posted 15 kills on 0.414 hitting. Sophomore Katie Smoot had eight kills on 0.667 hitting. Sophomore Elizabeth Shelton picked up seven kills on 0.583 hitting. In addition, junior Devyn Cross notched eight kills on 0.500 hitting that night.
Along with a stellar offense, the Wildcats were unmatched from the service line. The ‘Cats had 12 aces in the match, its most since September 2016.
Five different Wildcats had multiple aces, led by dual-sport athlete (volleyball and beach volleyball) Makenna Martin's three, alongside her 10 digs.
Arizona vs Utah State:
Arizona’s second match of the night against Utah State did not look as fluid as the first, but they were still able to get the job done (15-25, 25-20, 25-19, 21-25, 15-4).
Dahlke’s 28 kills and Patterson’s 62 assists in the match helped Arizona squeak their way past the Aggies.
After getting 15 kills in her first match against CSUN, Dahlke stepped up even more and got a career-high 28 kills on 0.400 hitting.
UA outdug Utah State 60-55 in the match, led by Martin's 17. Martin led the team in both digs and aces in both of Arizona's matches on Friday.
In the fifth and final match, Arizona was able to dominate the Aggies in a hard-fought 15-4 victory to take the 3-2 match win.
Arizona vs Sacramento State:
Arizona wrapped up its weekend in Sacramento by defeating the host team, Sacramento State, in a four-set victory (25-12, 25-17, 26-28, 25-17).
Dahlke led the way once again for Arizona, posting a remarkable double-double, leading the team with 24 kills and a career-best 19 digs.
Dahlke was named Hornet Invitational most valuable player, and Patterson and Cross were named to the all-tournament team.
Arizona’s defense played a strong role in their clinching the tournament title. On Saturday the Wildcats had 101 digs in the match, the most since the opening match in 2015 against Southern Methodist University.
Dahlke had 19 digs on the match, Martin came right behind with 18 and Patterson and Emi Pua’a added 15 each.
After winning the Hornet Invitational, the ‘Cats are back in McKale Center next weekend starting Friday, Aug. 31 in the Cactus Classic Invitational against Lipscomb, Pacific and San Diego State universities for their first home tournament of the 2018 season.
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