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Wildcats Set For Matchup with NMSU at NCAA Tournament
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/04/2013
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics

Arizona (20-12, 10-10 Pac-12) vs. New Mexico State (22-10, 14-2 WAC)

Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 – 6:00 p.m. MST

Series Record: Arizona leads 13-0

Last Meeting: Arizona def. New Mexico State 3-0 in Tucson back on Sept. 18, 2010

Current Streak: Arizona has won all 13 in the series

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TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona volleyball team is set to take on New Mexico State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday inside the Jenny Craig Pavilion on the campus of the University of San Diego. First serve is set for 6:00 p.m. MST.

In the other match of the night, the No. 9 national seed and host San Diego will host UC Santa Barbara at 8:00 p.m. MST. The winner of both matches will play on Saturday at 8 p.m. MST inside the Jenny Craig Pavilion for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.

Playing in her final regular season home match, senior Candace Nicholson recorded a career-high 36 digs to lift Arizona to a 3-1 (25-22, 16-25, 25-23, 25-21) victory over in-state rival Arizona State on Friday inside McKale Center.

Nicholson, who was recognized before the match for her senior recognition, has shattered just about every dig record in school history and she almost added another record to her name. She fell just one dig short of Katie Jackels’ school record for digs in a match. Jackels recorded 37 digs in a five-set match against Saint Mary’s on August 25, 2007. Nicholson was one of five Arizona players with double-figure digs on the night. For her efforts, Nicholson was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for the first time in her career.

Arizona’s defense was the story of the match as the Wildcats held ASU to just a .176 hitting percentage. Meanwhile, the Wildcats recorded a season-high 103 digs as a team on the night, which ranks seventh in school history. Ironically, five of the top-10 most digs in school history have come against Arizona State. Meanwhile, the Wildcats also out-blocked the Sun Devils, 9.0 – 5.0.

The Wildcats are making their 25th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, while advancing to the big dance in four of the last five seasons. Arizona owns a 26-24 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, which included a trip to the Final Four back in 2001.

Junior outside hitter Madi Kingdon proved to be one of the top all-around players in the league. She finished first in the Pac-12 in points (5.12 p/s), while ranking third in kills (4.38 p/s) and fifth in service aces (0.32 p/s). For her efforts, she was just named to the All-Pac-12 Team on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, freshman setter Penina Snuka’s 17 double-doubles ranks second in the Pac-12 and are the second most nationally among freshmen. She also finished sixth in the conference in assists (10.15 p/s). She was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team on Tuesday.

The Wildcats have been one of the best defensive teams in the Pac-12 as their 17.34 digs per set led the league, while their .173 opponent hitting percentage ranked second in the Pac-12.

All of this week’s NCAA Tournament matches at the Jenny Craig Pavilion will have a free live web stream in full High Definition. Click HERE to watch live.

Fans can purchase All-Session passes at the price of $15 for adults and $8 for children. Single-match tickets will go on sale Friday morning, and until then fans can purchase all-sessions passes through the USD Ticket office, or online by clicking HERE. On Friday when single-match tickets become available the cost will be $10 for adults and $5 for students and children.

The Opponent

New Mexico State (22-10) earned the WAC’s automatic bid by winning the WAC Tournament title last Wednesday with a sweep of Bakersfield. This is New Mexico State’s seventh NCAA Tournament appearance and second in a row. The Aggies are led by WAC Player of the Year and WAC Tournament MVP Desiree Scott, who averages 2.62 kills on .372 hitting and 1.33 blocks per set. Scott also happens to be a Tucson native.  

Arizona has faced New Mexico State 13 times in school history with the Wildcats winning all 13 matches. The two teams last faced each other twice in 2010. The Wildcats won 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 26-24) in Tucson and 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-17) in Las Cruces. Arizona head coach Dave Rubio’s brother Keith is an assistant coach at New Mexico State.

For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat volleyball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaVBall.

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