Cats host Arizona Invitational to kick off 2013 season

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The Arizona volleyball team will host the Arizona Invitational this weekend to kick off the 2013 season inside McKale Center. The four-team tournament will feature the Wildcats along with No. 20 Kansas, Central Arkansas and Morgan State.

Competition will begin on Friday morning and will conclude Saturday night. The Wildcats will face Morgan State on Friday at 1:30 p.m. before taking on Central Arkansas on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and No. 20 Kansas at 7 p.m. Admission will be free for the two Friday matches as well as the three early matches on Saturday. 

The Wildcats return 10 letterwinners, including six starters from a 2012 squad that finished with a 16-15 overall record. In addition, Arizona welcomes eight newcomers to the team, six freshmen and two transfers. Among the returnees are junior Madi Kingdon, an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention selection and Preseason All-Pac-12 honoree, and sophomores Halli Amaro and Olivia Magill, who both earned Pac-12 Honorable Mention All-Freshman honors last season.

Friday's matchup between Arizona and Morgan State marks the first time that the two squads have met. The Bears finished with a 5-21 overall record in 2012 including a 4-8 mark in conference. Morgan State returns leading scorer Arianna Hayden from last season's squad. Hayden recorded 219 kills (2.55 p/s) last season to lead the Bears.

In the Saturday morning match, Arizona will be facing Central Arkansas for the first time in school history. The Bears finished the 2012 season with an impressive 30-5 record, which included an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA appearance was their first in school history. UCA returns reigning Southland Conference Setter of the Year, Marissa Collins. Collins dished out 1,577 assists (12.42 p/s) last season to go with 269 digs, 43 blocks and 35 service aces.

Saturday's nightcap will feature the Wildcats and No. 20 Kansas. The Jayhawks went 26-7 in 2012 that included a trip to the NCAA Tournament, where they hosted the first two rounds. Kansas defeated Cleveland State in the opening round before falling to Wichita State. The Jayhawks return a strong nucleus from last year's team including All-American, Caroline Jarmoc. Jarmoc recorded 205 kills, hit .387 and recorded 76 blocks.

Live video and live stats will be available for the entirety of the tournament free of charge. Tickets for the 2013 volleyball season are available and can be purchased by visiting the McKale Center Ticket Office, calling 520-621-CATS or by visiting

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