Sept. 7, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz.- The 11th-ranked Arizona volleyball team (3-2) dropped its first home non-conference match in nearly three years 3-1 to second-ranked Nebraska at the Wildcat Classic in McKale Center on Saturday.
Much like its loss to Louisville last weekend, Arizona's struggles in passing and service receive cost the Wildcats in the 30-23, 19-30, 15-30, 30-32 loss. Arizona committed 15 service errors and racked up 15 reception errors to hand the Huskers 30 points over the course of the four games.
The Wildcats held the lead nearly throughout game one as Arizona recorded 17 kills to Nebraska's eight. Seniors Lisa Rutledge, who led all players in the match with 15 kills, and Shannon Torregrosa each posted five kills apiece in the frame, while the Huskers could manage just a .125 attack percentage.
Momentum of the match swung to Nebraska's favor in the second game as Arizona's trouble with the serve began to show up. The Wildcats served five balls into the net or out of bounds and misplayed eight Nebraska serves for 13 points in the second game alone. Despite a .040 hitting percentage from the Nebraska offense, Arizona's miscues helped the Huskers to an 11 point victory in the frame.
Arizona's passing and service struggles carried over to the third game as the Nebraksa's offense began to get on track. The Huskers scored a much improved .391 attack percentage in the game. The Wildcats, meanwhile, tallied seven hitting errors for a -.036 attack percentage, due largely to poor passing off the Nebraska serve. At one point in the game Nebraska held a commanding 23-8 lead and then costed to the 2-1 advantage in the match.
Arizona's play improved in the fourth game helping the Wildcats erase 26-22 Husker advantage late. An Arizona rally, powered by three consecutive kills by Rutledge, eventually gave Arizona a 30-29 led, but Nebraska fended off the furious Arizona attack and held on for the win.
Rutledge, who also tallied 11 digs, was the lone player in the match to post double-figure kills, as both teams struggled throughout. Nebraska recorded a .165 attack percentage with 43 kills on 121 attempts, while committing 23 errors. Arizona was able muster just a .140 percentage with 47 kills on 129 swings with 29 errors.
The Wildcats will have little time to lick their wounds as they return to play this evening against 14th-ranked Pepperdine in the final match of the Wildcat Classic.