Arizona volleyball defeats Washington State in hard-fought battle

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Jose Toro | The Daily Wildcat Arizona outside hitter Paige Whipple (10) falls on the court during the UA-Colorado volleyball match on Oct. 15 in McKale Center.

This morning, Arizona volleyball team played a tightly contested match against No. 22 Washington State, which sits at fourth in the Pac-12 conference standings.

Arizona was able to win a first set that came down to the wire through some great offensive plays from Paige Whipple and Katie Smoot. Washington State controlled the second set, receiving every spike the Wildcats hit at them and playing some great defense. The third set was dominated by Arizona and Whipple, who finished the match with 29 kills and a 30% hit rate. The fourth set was back to being very close, but Arizona was able to push ahead and win.

In the first set, it was almost impossible to separate the two teams. The biggest lead during the set was just three points. There was a lot of great offense being played by Arizona, who racked up 12 kills and two aces. Arizona’s Katie Smoot had 5 kills and a 50% hit percentage. Paige Whipple and Devyn Cross both had 3 kills. The set ended 25-22 in favor of Arizona.

The second set was also a very close contest. Every time one team would jump to a lead the other would rally back. Washington took a big lead late on in the second set, scoring five points straight to take the lead 14-19. The lead proved to be insurmountable when the second set finished 25-20 in favor of Washington State.

The third set was absolute domination by Arizona and in particular Paige Whipple. Whipple had 10 kills in the third set alone. 

“I was just feeling it, I guess,” Whipple said. “Julie and I were connnecting really well, and everyone was hyping me up and I was trying to do the same for everyone else. We were all just leaning on each other, and I felt that energy, which helped me play well.”

In the third set, the Wildcats were up by as much 13 points due to an early run helped by great serving.

“What happened was we really served well,” said Head Coach Dave Rubio. “We served in short; they had a really tough time managing the short serve. We kind of got on a run early and they struggled with that.” 

In the fourth set, the game was really tight going into the final stretch. The game was tied at 23-23. Washington State then blocked a spike out of bounds, making the score 24-23. Then, Washington State spiked the ball out of bounds for the Arizona win, making the final score of the set 25-23.

Devyn Cross said it felt “fantastic” to beat a team like Washington State.

“The Washington schools, in general, are really great teams, so it’s always nice whenever you get a chance to knock them off their pedestals a little bit,” she added.

The Wildcats will play again this week on Wednesday, Nov. 27, when they go up against unranked UCLA in the McKale Center. Catch the game live or watch it on the Pac-12 Network. 


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