No. 21 Arizona volleyball returned to the desert this weekend to face off against No. 15 Washington and No. 22 Washington State at home in McKale Center in Tucson.
This weekend proved that, in order for the Wildcats to be in contention for a Pac-12 Championship, they need to make some imperative changes.
No. 15 Washington:
Much to Arizona’s dismay, the Wildcats were not able to muster up enough strength to defeat the highly-ranked Huskies on Friday. In fact, the Cats were not able to get one point on the night against Washington, as they were swept for the first time this season (18-25, 23-25, 23-25).
“I’m disappointed in how we responded without Paige [Whipple] being here,” said head coach Dave Rubio. "We never got into any kind of rhythm or flow, and part of that is because of how Washington played. Our team was not prepared to handle a new system of not having Paige in there. It's unfortunate that we were missing a key player. The fact that we were even close in set two and three is pretty amazing, but it was a poor effort on our part. We weren't prepared to play tonight against a good team."
Whipple, a sophomore, sat out this weekend due to a concussion from earlier last week.
Kendra Dahlke, however, had another great match in Arizona's third loss of the season.
The senior had 18 kills that night with 0.382 hitting, with Candice Denny and Devyn Cross each adding six to Dahlke’s 18.
"It was a rough game for us," Dahlke said. "I don't wanna say excuses that we were down a player, which we were. I thought we had the personnel on the floor to be able to put up a fight at least, but I thought we didn't get enough stops. We are a really good blocking team, and that didn't come through tonight. They served us a lot tougher than we served them, and they were [more] consistent than we were."
Arizona's defense could not stop Washington’s offense throughout the entirety of the game, which lead to UA's first time being swept in the 2018 season.
No. 22 Washington State:
After a rough performance on Friday night, the Wildcats were not able to redeem themselves on Sunday afternoon against the Cougars.
Arizona started out the match strong, winning the first two sets 25-20 and 25-22, respectively.
In the third set, Arizona dropped the nail biter 23-25, which turned the tables for the rest of the match. Sets four and five were dominated by the Cougars, which gave Arizona its fourth loss of the season and its second straight loss of the weekend.
"We were much better than Friday," said Rubio. "I knew that we would play much better, and we did. It's unfortunate that we didn't play like this against Washington on Friday, and it's a tough loss when it's that close."
Dahlke led the way for Arizona with 23 kills and 13 digs, giving the senior her 13th career 20-plus-kill match.
Junior Julia Patterson posted a double-double with 51 assists and 12 digs in the match, along with four kills and a block.
After this weekend’s split performance, Arizona volleyball is 14-4 for the season.
Arizona volleyball is back in action this Friday, Oct. 12, against the UCLA Bruins and again on Sunday, Oct. 14, against the USC Trojans in Los Angeles.
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