TUCSON, Ariz. ?- Despite dominating every statistical category, the No. 21 Arizona volleyball team fell to Rice in five games (28-30, 30-22, 23-30, 30-17, 13-15) in the final match of the Four Points Sheraton Wildcat Classic at McKale Center tonight.
Arizona bettered Rice in hitting percentage (.143 to .066), kills (61 to 55), assists (53 to 47), service aces (8 to 3), digs (67 to 64) and blocks (18 to 12).
“The players underestimated the team they were playing; they did not respect Rice,” Head Coach David Rubio said. You get what you deserve if you don’t respect the other team.”
“They are not demonstrating what they do in training when they play in games,” he continued. “The genuine effort that they give in practice does not show in games. It doesn’t make sense, but it is a sign of an immature team.”
Freshman Whitney Dosty led Arizona with 16 kills, followed by sophomore Brooke Buringrud, who tallied 12 kills and 16 digs. Junior Dominique Lamb notched a double-double ?- 11 kills and 10 blocks. Senior setter Stephanie Butkus dished out 49 assists to go with 14 digs, while sophomore Brittany Leonard had a team-high 20 digs.
After trailing early in game one, Arizona used a 7-0 run to take a 13-8 lead. The Wildcats led by as many as six, but the Owls went on a 5-0 run to tie it at 18 apiece and later took a 25-21 lead. Arizona battled back to tie it at 27, but Rice went on to the 30-28 win. The Wildcats hit .227 on the game, compared to the .205 of the Owls. Sophomore Randy Goodenough tallied five kills to pace the Wildcats.
The Wildcats scored the first seven points in game two and later led by as many as 11 before Rice used a 9-0 run to make it a two-point game (17-15). From that point, Arizona outscored Rice 13-7 for the 30-22 win. The Wildcats hit .103 on the game and held Rice to -.068.
Rice jumped out to a 6-1 lead in game three, but Arizona quickly scored four points to make it a one-point game and took its first lead at 8-7. From there, Rice scored six unanswered points for its biggest lead of the game. The Wildcats responded with a 7-2 run to tie the game at 17. The Owls closed out the game on a 13-6 run for the 30-23 win. Arizona hit just .024 on the game, compared to the .242 of Rice. Dosty had five kills on the game.
Arizona trailed early in game four, but took the lead at 5-4 and never looked back, leading by as many as 13 and winning 30-17. The Wildcats hit .182 on the game and held Rice to -.158.
The fifth and final game was played close throughout, with neither team leading by more than two points at any point. Rice held on for the 15-13 win.
Lamb, Buringrud and Dosty were all named to the all-tournament team. Rice's Tessa Kuykendall was the MVP.
Arizona travels to Evanston, Ill., for the Northwestern Tournament next Friday and Saturday, Sept. 15 and 16.