Arizona hits the road this weekend to play in the SDSU/USD Invitational
Despite a heroic late-set run against Samford, the Arizona women’s volleyball team failed to complete the comeback, losing the five-set showdown 3-2.
This not only prevented Arizona from sweeping the Cactus Classic, but has knocked them out of the top 25 AVCA Coaches poll in the early season. The Wildcats (2-1) will have a chance to regain momentum this weekend at the SDSU/USD Invitational, as they face three notable opponents in No. 2 Nebraska, West Virginia and San Diego State. These three teams have started the season with a combined 7-1 record.
Starting the tournament on Friday, September 6, the Wildcats must devise a game plan to neutralize Nebraska’s Kenzie Knuckles, who earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday after recording 41 digs in her first two games of the season.
With Knuckles holding her opponents to a .074 hitting percentage, the Wildcats’ junior tandem of Katie Smoot and Paige Whipple will need to sustain their level of play on the attacking end. Both averaged almost three kills per set. Not only do the Wildcats have a chance to pull off an upset, but they have an opportunity to snap a five-game losing streak against the Huskers.
The next day will be a true test to Arizona’s focus and stamina, as they conclude the tournament with a double-header against West Virginia and San Diego State. San Diego State’s junior, Camryn Machado, was recently named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week as a setter who has displayed versatile skills.
West Virginia, on the other hand, is a team trying to continue the beginning of their season strong, as they have not had consecutive winning seasons since 2013-2014. With the fierce competition this weekend, the Wildcats will need to elevate their game to head in the right direction.
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