The Arizona volleyball team cleared out their competition at the Wildcat Classic tournament hosted in McKale Center. The team played three winning sets per match, leaving them 6-0 at home. On day one, the team played against UC Riverside Highlanders and San Diego State University Aztecs in the evening. Day two followed up with one match against the Texas Southern University Tigers that kept the Wildcats undefeated at home.
Day 1 - Arizona vs. UC Riverside (25-11, 25-18, 25-22)
The Wildcats set the tone of the tournament by scoring the first point of the match. Early on, outside hitter Jaelyn Hodge, scored back-to-back kills against the Highlanders. As the team worked hard to keep a powerful defense, Sofia Maldonado Diaz chalked up five kills in the first set to maintain the upper hand. Emery Herman achieved 1,000 career assists during the Wildcats’ first set, making her the sixth-fastest UA athlete to make 1,000 assists.
During set two, Herman kept the assist rolling by aiding in Puk Stubbe’s two kills and scoring two service aces herself. Hodge made her presence known in the game with five kills in the second set. Dilara Gedikoglu finished the set with her back-to-back kills.
The Wildcats completed their final set against UC Riverside with plenty of kills. Hodge set the tone and made five kills. Stubbe scored four kills with Herman assisting in three of them. Maldonado Diaz also scored four kills.
Day 1 - Arizona vs. San Diego State University (25-20, 25-22, 25-11)
An outstanding Wildcat audience brought energy to the evening match. The audience’s great tone led Herman’s service ace to begin the first set. Herman’s spirit kept the game going as she assisted in Merle Weidt’s four kills. Weidt and Maldonado Diaz both cleared block assists. After a few unfortunate attack errors by the Wildcats, SDSU made a ball handling error that won the Wildcats’ first set for this match.
Although set two was a close one for the Wildcats at 25-22, the team remained focused on winning. Hodge scored four kills and made four aces for the team. Maldonado Diaz, Stubbe and Weidt also achieved four kills in the second set. The game point was made by Hodge’s final kill of the set assisted by Herman.
The third set and last match of day one of the Wildcat Classic included a 10-point lead for the Wildcats with a final score of 25-15.
Day 2 - Wildcats vs. Texas Southern University
Day two of the tournament ended in a clean sweep by the Wildcats with a 13-point victory in the last set. Stubbe racked up three kills in the first set to set the tone for the last game. Maldonaldo Diaz made two kills and completed two block assists. Nicole Briggs and Gedikoglu each scored two kills alongside Maldonaldo Diaz.
Maldonaldo Diaz was not finished making kills in the first set and made three more in the second. Herman had two kills, one block and served an ace to win yet another amazing set in the Wildcat Classic.
The Wildcats were not finished dominating Texas Southern and completed the tournament with a score of 25-12. Herman called the shots with 14 assists including a kill and an ace. Maldonado Diaz put down four kills to finish off their win.
The Wildcat Classic Tournament leaves the Arizona volleyball team at 8-3 overall and 6-0 at home. The team moves forward with Pac-12 play against Arizona State in Tempe, Arizona, on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, at 6 p.m. MST.
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