Day One Matches
The University of Arizona volleyball team took care of their competition at the Wildcat Classic tournament hosted in Mckale Center Friday, Sept. 16. The team only lost one set but finished the day 6-1 in their sets to win both matches on day one. The Wildcats played Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in the morning and the University of Texas at El Paso in the evening.
Arizona vs. A&M-Corpus Christi (25-22, 26-24, 25-11)
The Wildcats came out fast, setting the tone early in the tournament as they went on two 4-0 scoring runs, which had everyone on the team getting involved. The Islanders were also delivering decisive strikes as both teams began to trade kills one after another. Then the Islanders went on an electric 5-0 scoring run to make the score 21-23. The Wildcats understood it was time to end this set, and Jaelyn Hodge quickly delivered back-to-back kills against the Islanders to give the first set win to the Wildcats.
In the second set, early on it was a back-and-forth contest. Neither side was giving an inch as they traded kills and errors until once again the Islanders went on a 3-0 scoring run and began to pull away from the Wildcats. However, the Wildcats quickly responded with a 4-0 scoring run of their own, which included back-to-back service aces. This set was a battle of wills, as both teams never gave a sign of backing down. Puk Stubbe and Sofia Maldonado Diaz would eventually deliver individual kills to put the set to an end in favor of Arizona.
The Wildcats completed their final set against A&M-Corpus Christi with complete domination. This set had plenty of kills coming from everyone on the team; simply bombarding the Islanders, Maldonado Diaz led the charge with her 10 kills in the match, and Emery Herman was setting everyone up with her 19 assists in the match.
Arizona vs. UTEP (25-14, 19-25, 25-20, 25-23)
The energy in the second match of the day was absolutely unrivaled and the Wildcats fed off of it. The Miners looked rattled, giving up three quick errors, while Maldonado Diaz started off the scoring for the Wildcats on a powerful kill shot, giving the Wildcats a quick 4-1 lead. The Wildcats were completely in control of the set as they scored kill after kill, and Maldonado Diaz led the charge with six kills for the first set win.
During the second set, there was a complete shift of momentum in the match as the Miners were the ones who had complete control of the set. They went on three different scoring runs, commanding the set from start to finish and ultimately winning it 25-19.
In the third set, the Wildcats would bounce back, but it was a tough battle as both sides traded blows. However, the Wildcats were focused on pulling out this win and had the MVP of the match, Maldonado Diaz, making sure it would happen as she scored decisive strikes repeatedly, pulling the Wildcats away and ultimately securing a third set victory.
The fourth set and last match of day one of the Wildcat Classic was another back-and-forth contest, but the Wildcats would pull this set out victorious with a complete team execution.
Day Two Matches
The Arizona volleyball team closed out the second day of the Wildcat Classic with a win against California State University, Northridge. The Wildcats played four sets, winning the match 3-1, as they remain undefeated at home.
Arizona vs. CSUN (23-25, 25-16, 25-10, 25-21)
The Wildcats came out slow in the first set against the Matadors. The Matadors had early control of the match, but the Wildcats continued battling back. Then late in the set, the Wildcats were able to go on a 5-0 scoring run and retake the lead due to back-to-back kills from Maldonado Diaz and Alayna Johnson. However, the Matadors would immediately respond with a 5-0 run of their own and close out the first set with a win.
During set two, the energy in the gym seemed to change, foreshadowing how different this set would be. The Wildcats opened with a quick strike and go on a 12-5 scoring run. The Matadors responded with a run of their own, but Hodge put it to a decisive halt with an absolute strike, keeping the momentum on the side of the Wildcats. The second set was closed out with a bounce-back win, tying the match 1-1.
Heading into the third set, the Wildcats only increased their level of play, putting on an absolute masterclass performance. Zyonna Fellows would get them started in scoring, but the rest of the Wildcats followed her lead as they went on a 7-3 scoring run. Arizona never let up in this match as they closed it out on a 10-2 scoring run, winning the third set.
In the fourth set, the Wildcats came out fast and ready to end this match. They went on a quick 9-0 scoring run led by the kills leader of the match Maldonado Diaz. As the match went on, the Matadors did battle back into it, but the Wildcats' play was simply too much as they continued delivering timely strikes and limiting their mistakes. Maldonado Diaz scored the final kill for the match, leading the Wildcats to a 3-1 win.
The Wildcat Classic tournament leaves the Arizona volleyball team at 10-1 overall and 6-0 at home. The team moves forward with Pac-12 play against ASU here in Mckale Center on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. MST.
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