Friday, Feb. 12
Nothing went right for the Wildcats on Friday, Feb. 12, against Oregon as the volleyball team saw themselves swept in three sets: 25-19, 25-17 and 25-15.
Serving errors derailed Arizona early, with five out of nine coming in the first set. Arizona pulled within two points, but then Oregon went on a 6-0 run and never looked back. Freshman Emery Herman contributed six of her match-leading 22 assists in the second set, but they were eventually outmuscled by Oregon’s 16 kills compared to Arizona’s 10 kills in the second set. The third set was by far Arizona’s worst, scoring only twice out of the final 14 serves.
Oregon was led by their star junior Brooke Nuneviller, who finished leading both teams with 14 kills, 16 digs, 16 points and tied for attacks with 28. She owned every aspect of this match, and Arizona had no answers for her.
Senior Paige Whipple did her best to keep the Wildcats in it, leading her team with 8.5 points and eight kills. Other than assists, the only other category the Wildcats led in was total errors. Oregon was so locked in that they only took one timeout the entire match, while Arizona took six because of constant mistakes.
Sunday, Feb. 14
The second match took place on Valentine’s Day, but Oregon showed Arizona no love as they once again swept them in three sets by scores of 25-23, 25-13 and 25-15. Of their six losses this year, the Wildcats have been swept in five of them. Arizona was also without Whipple for this match, and her presence was certainly missed on the court.
Miscommunication by Oregon in the first set gave Arizona a chance to be competitive early on. Freshman Sofia Maldonado Diaz set the tone with four kills for the Wildcats in the first set. Neither team ever led by more than two points, but Arizona had four serving errors and a team position infraction in the set. Those five points were ultimately the deciding factor.
After Oregon escaped the first set, they made sure to not let the score get that close again. The Wildcats pulled within three points to make it 6-9, and then Oregon answered with a 10-1 run to dominate the second set. Nuneviller and Gloria Mutiri came alive to take control of set two. Nuneviller had six kills and an ace, and Mutiri had eight kills and five assists in the second set.
Then Oregon decided to have a block party, with five out of eight coming in the third set. Maldonado Diaz had five kills and an ace for the Wildcats in set three, but overall, the team looked inexperienced and confused on the court.
Arizona looks to rebound against Oregon State on Feb. 19 and Feb. 21 in Tucson, Arizona.
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