Wildcats Volleyball returns home to upset No. 21 Oregon, 3-1Posted: Updated:
Three players recorded double-doubles and Arizona (11-4, 1-2 Pac-12) opened the home portion of the Pac-12 schedule with an impressive 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 25-22) upset over No. 21 Oregon (8-5, 1-2 Pac-12) on Friday night inside McKale Center.
Madi Kingdon led the way with 24 kills on .250 hitting with 13 digs and two blocks. Kingdon earned her league-best seventh double-double of the season. Jane Croson complimented Kingdon on the left side with 18 kills and 17 digs. Meanwhile, freshman setter Penina Snuka dished out 46 assists with a career-high 17 digs. She also added three blocks and a kill. Taylor Arizobal also recorded double-figure kills as she had 10 kills and tied a match-high with six blocks.
The Arizona defense continued to perform at a high level as it held Oregon to just .179 hitting. The Cats also out-blocked the Ducks 11-8. Oregon came in to the match with one of the top offenses in the Pac-12, but the Arizona defense never backed down from the defending national runner-up. The Wildcats defeated the Ducks for the first time in five tries.
Candace Nicholson played a big part in the Arizona defense as she recorded a career-high 26 digs in the contest. Nicholson, who already holds the Arizona career record for digs, made some crucial defensively plays down the stretch to keep the Ducks off the scoreboard.
Arizona stormed out of the gates by winning the first three points of the match, forcing Oregon to take a quick timeout. Following the timeout, the Ducks went on a 5-0 run of their own to take the lead. Later in the set, with Oregon in front 13-9, the Wildcats reeled off six straight points to regain a 15-13 lead. Oregon managed to tie the score on a couple different occasions and with the score tied 21-21, Arizona won the next two points to take a 23-21 lead. An Oregon kill cut the lead to one, but the Wildcats closed out the set with back-to-back kills by Kingdon and Rachel Rhoades. Kingdon had seven kills to pace the Arizona offense.
The Wildcats started out strong in the second set as they led all the way until Oregon won four straight points to turn a 16-14 deficit into an 18-16 lead. The Cats battled back to regain the lead after a 3-0 run put them in front 23-21. After Oregon won the next two points to tie it up, Croson recorded back-to-back kills to clinch the set for the Cats. Croson had six kills to lead the way for Arizona, while Kingdon had eight digs to lead the defense.
Oregon led the third set wire-to-wire despite Arizona cutting the lead to two late in the frame. The Ducks went on to take the set, 25-20. Both teams struggled offensively in the set as Oregon hit .120, while Arizona hit just .078.
The Ducks had the momentum in the fourth set as they jumped out to a 7-2 as Arizona burned both of its timeouts during the sequence. The Wildcats slowly battled back and pulled ahead 13-12 after a 3-0 run. The match went back and forth from there as the two teams battled to a 20-20 tie, but the Cats got two straight kills by Croson and Kingdon to go in front 22-20. Arizona got two more kills by Croson and a block to close out the set and match. The Wildcats hit an impressive .326 in the set, while Oregon was held to just a .191 attack efficiency. Kingdon and Croson combined for 13 kills in the set to lead the Wildcats.
Liz Brenner led Oregon with 22 kills and 20 digs, while Martenne Bettendorf and Ariana Williams each recorded double-figure kills. The Wildcats will be back in action on Sunday as they host Oregon State at 11:00 a.m. The match will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat volleyball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaVBall.
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