TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The No. 19 Arizona volleyball team (5-2) claimed the championship of the Four Points University Plaza Wildcat Classic, handing No. 18 Louisville (5-1) its first loss of the season, a four-game defeat (30-20, 26-30, 30-28, 30-25) at the McKale Center this afternoon. The Wildcats went 3-0 in the tournament, posting back-to-back victories over higher ranked teams.
Junior Jennifer Abernathy was named MVP of the tournament after averaging 5.00 kills, 2.50 digs, 0.30 assists, 0.20 service aces and 0.20 blocks. Meghan Cumpston and setter Stephanie Butkus were also named to the all-tournament team.
“This was a really, really good win for us,” Head Coach David Rubio said. “The thing that I’m most excited about was that we competed really well. We never folded our tent or hoped they would make mistakes. We were aggressive throughout, which was important since Louisville kept the pressure on throughout.”
The Wildcats hit .241 as a team and edged Louisville in nearly every statistical category. Cumpston led the way with a career-high 23 kills to go along with 10 digs. Abernathy added 19 kills and 12 digs, while Butkus finished with 54 assists, 10 digs and four blocks. Senior Kelli Mulvany tallied a match-high 20 digs, while Bre Ladd notched a match-high five blocks.
After a close start to game one, Arizona slowly built its lead to as many as seven on several occasions before using a 7-0 run to put the game out of reach. The Wildcats hit .306 on the game and held the Cardinals to just .108. Abernathy and Cumpston led Arizona with six kills each, while Butkus dished out 16 assists.
In game two, the Wildcats took an early lead, but Louisville slowly chipped away at it, then used a 5-0 run to take a three-point lead (14-11). Arizona tied it at 17, but soon found itself down by five, 24-19. The Wildcats cut it to two late (28-26), but that was as close as they would get, as they lost 30-26. Arizona was out-hit .450 to .209 and out-blocked 4-2.
In a closely contested third game, Arizona used a 5-1 run to take a 22-17 lead, but the Cardinals quickly tied it at 26 and again at 27. The Wildcats then scored two straight points and went on to win 30-28. Cumpston led Arizona with seven kills, followed by Abernathy with five.
The fourth and final game was a story of runs, as every time the Wildcats built a lead, Louisville quickly cut away at it. When it seemed as though Arizona had the game in control, leading 23-16, the Cardinals scored five straight points to make it a two-point game. Both teams then traded points for the remainder of the game and Arizona won 30-25.
2004 Four Points University Plaza Wildcat Classic All-Tournament Team
MVP: Jennifer Abernathy, Arizona
Stephanie Butkus, Arizona
Meghan Cumpston, Arizona
Bing Sun, Louisville
Jennifer Hoffman, Louisville
Christina Hinds, Pepperdine
UP NEXT: Arizona travels to Washington, D.C., for the American University Tournament next Friday-Saturday, Sept. 17-18. The Wildcats face host American at 7 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, Arizona plays Temple at 10 a.m. and Albany at 4:30 p.m. All times are Eastern.