TUCSON, Ariz.- For just the second time in 43 postseason matches, the Arizona volleyball team rallied from an 0-2 deficit to force a fifth game. Unfortunately, unlike the five-game victory against rival Arizona State in the opening round of the 1985 tournament, this time the Wildcats came out on the losing end of the scoreboard, falling to No. 12 San Diego on its home floor 30-28, 30-28, 25-30, 27-30, 15-13 on Saturday. The loss eliminated the Wildcats from postseason play and handed them a final record of 19-11.
"I’m disappointed for the team," Arizona head coach David Rubio said. "I had a feeling that the final game was going to come down to two points, and sure enough it did. USD played tremendous in pressure situations and made the plays they needed to down the stretch. I don’t think we blocked very well in the opening two games and that’s normally a strength for us."
Indeed, Arizona’s lack of pressure at the net allowed USD to overcome eight attack errors in game one while paving the way for the Toreros to hit a lofty .395 in game two.
After the break, UA’s block returned as the Wildcat defense used six stuffs in the frame to help limit the Toreros to a .132 hitting percentage and pull closer at two games to one. Freshman Dominique Lamb tallied four of her match-high eight blocks in the frame, while senior Jolene Killough and juniors Jennifer Abernathy and Bre Ladd each added two apiece.
Arizona pulled even at two games each after game four, with the Wildcat defense holding USD to a match-low .000 hitting percentage (12 kills, 12 errors, 51 attempts) in the frame.
Game five see-sawed back and forth, with neither team able to pull ahead by more than two points, but a pair of dumps by USD setter Lindsey Sherburne and an attack error by Kim Glass on the final play of the game finally put an to the Wildcats’ season.
The box score reflected the closeness of the match as UA edged out USD in hitting percentage .209 to .208 and posted just a half more block (14 to 13.5), while the Toreros held narrow advantages in kills (79 to 69), assists (77 to 65) and digs (79 to 72).
Individually, the two teams combined to have eight players finish in double digit kills on the night. UA’s Glass led all players with 23 kills, but USD’s Emily Haas proved to be a match to Glass with a team-high 19 put downs, including eight kills in game one alone.
UA seniors Killough (nine kills, .304 hitting, five total blocks), Kelli Mulvany (two aces, a team-high 20 digs) and Cassidy Crum (eight digs) all ended their Wildcat careers with loss.