Arizona (19-12, 9-10 Pac-12) vs. Arizona State (19-12, 8-11 Pac-12)
Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 – 5:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Series Record: Arizona leads 42-41
Last Meeting: Arizona State def. Arizona 3-0 in Tempe back on Sept. 24
Current Streak: Arizona State has won two straight in the series
Nearly four years ago, Candace Nicholson stepped on campus for the first time. 122 matches and 1,584 digs later, Nicholson is set to play her final match in McKale Center when the Cats take on Arizona State on Friday.
“It’s going to be pretty surreal,” said Nicholson. “I don’t think it’s going to hit me that I’m done until after the game. It’s hard to believe that my four years are coming to an end.”
The senior has recorded 454 digs this season, a part of her aforementioned 1,584 career digs. Those figures, wherever they end up after UA’s final regular season contest and any postseason matches, will each be etched into Arizona history as the most digs in a season and in a career, respectively, in Arizona history.
“It’s cool to see your hard work pay off,” said Nicholson of her records. “I feel like I’m leaving a little bit of a legacy, so that’s cool.”
Arizona’s leading digger has been through a lot during her four seasons in Tucson, including two, likely soon to be three, NCAA tournament berths, and five victories over top-15 opponents. Nicholson called UA’s victory over No. 11 Washington her freshman year the highlight of her time her.
“My best memory is beating Washington my freshman year,” said Nicholson. “I think it’s most memorable because I was a freshman being put in that environment and it’s something that I’ve always remembered since then.”
In addition to the on-court triumphs, Nicholson raved about the team and family atmosphere that accompanies putting on the Arizona uniform.
“I’m going to miss traveling with the team the most,” said Nicholson. “I’m going to miss the girls and I’m going to miss being part of a team.”
Nicholson has been lucky enough to have her father to support her throughout her entire time at Arizona. He has had a first-hand perspective of her record-setting career.
“A lot of players’ parents don’t get to come,” said Nicholson. “So it’s been really awesome to have him there. I feel like I always have support.”
Nicholson, a business major poised to graduate in the spring, hopes to continue playing when her collegiate eligibility expires.
“I want to try to play overseas,” said Nicholson of her post-graduation plans. “I really want to get into sports administration or sports broadcasting.”
Nicholson will go down as one of greatest liberos in Arizona history and has the stats to back it up. Her defense and consistency have been invaluable during her four years at Arizona. The Long Beach, Calif., native will look to finish her time at Arizona with a bang as the Cats close with the rival Sun Devils and then likely an NCAA tournament appearance.