The Arizona volleyball team stood no chance in its match against No. 15 Washington State on Thursday, April 1. The Wildcats fell in four sets by scores of 25-22, 23-25, 21-25 and 12-25 in Pullman, Washington.
The first set was neck and neck in the beginning, with neither team being able to create separation. Arizona had something going when they built up a 13-10 lead, but Washington State immediately responded with a 3-0 run to tie the set. Each team went back and forth tying the set and at one point Washington State took a 21-19 lead. Outside hitter Jaelyn Hodge got the rally started for the Wildcats that eventually led to a 6-1 run, with setter Emery Herman closing out the set with a kill.
Washington State did not look like their usual dominant selves after the first set but did from the second set on out.
The Cougars came out more aggressive than the Wildcats, including an ace for their first point of the set. Washington State applied the pressure throughout the whole set, looking as if they were going to walk away with an easy win. Hodge again sparked the rally for the Wildcats with a kill that enabled Arizona to go on a 4-0 run to take a commanding 22-19 lead.
This time it was the Cougars who came back late in the set, going on a similar 6-1 run as the Wildcats did in the first set to steal a much-needed set victory away from Arizona. Two of those points in the final moments of the sets were aces, with the Cougars amassing four in the set to zero for Arizona.
The third set was an all-out slugfest. Neither team had a lead larger than three throughout the entire set. With the score tied at 20-20 and Arizona serving, the Wildcats had a chance to take a 2-1 set lead over Washington State. Then the Cougars flexed their muscles and went on a 5-1 run to close out the set with three of the points being attack errors by the Wildcats.
The fourth set was not even close for the Wildcats. After Washington State grabbed a 5-4 lead, they never lost it. The Cougars went on to embarrass the Wildcats, pushing the lead to 18-9. It was bad enough for head coach Dave Rubio to sub out all his starters for bench players. Even though the match was not over, that was a sign that Rubio conceded.
This loss drops Arizona’s record to 9-11 and most likely ends any hope at a bid for a spot in the NCAA tournament.
Arizona will face Washington State for their final regular-season match on Saturday, April 3 at 12 p.m. MST in Bohler Gym.
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