SAN DIEGO, Calif. – A balanced and efficient offensive output led No. 9-seed San Diego (26-3) to a 3-0 (25-14, 25-19, 25-22) victory over Arizona (21-13) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Jenny Craig Pavilion on Saturday night. With the win, the Toreros punched their ticket to the Sweet 16 in Lincoln, Neb.
San Diego hit an incredible .377 against one of the top defensive teams in the Pac-12. The .377 hitting percentage was the highest percentage hit against the Wildcats all season. The Toreros out-dug the Wildcats 55 to 48 for the match.
The trio of Choe Ferrari, Alaysia Brown and Taylor Hollins paced the San Diego offense with each recording double-digit kills on the night. Ferrari and Brown each recorded 13 kills, while Hollins added 10. Jianna Bonomi led the Toreros with a match-high 16 digs.
Madi Kingdon led the Arizona offense with a match-high 15 kills to go along with a team-high 12 digs for her 16th double-double of the season. Kingdon finished the season with 508 kills on the season – the sixth most in Arizona single-season history. In addition, she now has 1,312 kills for her career – already sixth on the school’s all-time kills list with still another season to go.
Penina Snuka finished the season as the Pac-12 leader in double-doubles with 19 on the season. Snuka dished out 28 assists with 10 digs and two kills for the night.
Meanwhile, Candace Nicholson, the Arizona all-time leader in single-season and career digs, finished with 10 digs on the night. She closed out the season with 512 digs on the season – the only player in school history to ever record 500 digs in a season. Nicholson closed out her career with 1,642 digs – over 300 more than Terry Lauchner’s previous Arizona career record of 1,297.
The two teams battled back and forth for the first 12 points of the opening set. San Diego finally broke the tie with four straight points to take the 10-6 lead. Arizona pulled to within three on a few occasions but that was as close as the Wildcats would get. San Diego pulled away late to take the set 25-14. The Toreros went an incredible .536 in the set, while Arizona hit just .176.
San Diego continued its relentless offensive effort into the start of the second set as it jumped out to a 5-1 lead, forcing the Wildcats to burn a quick timeout. The Toreros started to pull away in the middle portion of the set, but Arizona put together a 5-1 run to get within two at 12-10. However, San Diego would not let it get any closer as the Toreros went on a 4-0 run to regain a six-point advantage at 16-10. The Wildcats did not give up as they pulled to within two once again at 20-18, but they could never get any closer as USD went on to take the set, 25-19. The Toreros remained efficient offensively as they hit .356 in the set.
The Toreros used a 7-1 run to jump out to a 14-7 advantage in the third set. Arizona could never dig itself out of the hole despite cutting the deficit to just two points at 24-22. San Diego went on to clinch the match with a 25-22 victory in the set. The Toreros continued to excel on the offensive end as they hit .273 in the set.
The Wildcats earned their 25th all-time berth in the NCAA Tournament and they are now 27-25 in the tournament all-time. Arizona also won its first NCAA Tournament match since the 2005 season.
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