Dec. 12, 2002
PALO ALTO, CALIF.- The Arizona volleyball team rallied from an seven-point deficit to win game one of its regional semifinal against No. 7-seed Minnesota in Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif., on Thursday and never looked back.
The 32-30, 34-32, 28-30, 30-19 win over the Gophers handed the Wildcats their 20th win of the season and their third straight trip to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Minnesota closed out its season 32-6 overall with the loss.
"We're extremely excited to be playing in the regional finals," Arizona head coach David Rubio said. "This was a close match that could have gone either way. Minnesota played a great match, but our players showed a resiliency and a desire to pull out this win."
Individually, Kim Glass blew by Terry Lauchner's school single season record of 520 kills with a 29-kill output against the Gophers on Thursday. The first-year Wildcat enters the regional finals tomorrow with 546 total kills for the season. She also finished the match against Minnesota with 13 digs.
Senior Lisa Rutledge, playing in her school record 15th career postseason match, added 13 kills on .364 hitting and eight digs. Middle blockers Bre Ladd and Angie Ayers finished with 11 kills and a match-high eight total blocks, respectively.
Trailing 29-22 in the opening frame, Arizona rode out seven straight Minnesota game points on the serving of sophomore Cassidy Crum and the attack of freshman Glass to an improbable tie at 29-29. The Gophers held game point again at 30-29, but the resilient Wildcats found their way to a game one win on a pair of kills by Glass and a game-ender by Ayers.
The Gophers almost turned the tables on the Wildcats in the second game with a rally to tie the score from a 29-27 deficit, but the Wildcats were rescued again by a pair of Glass kills and an Erin Martin attack error to give the Wildcats a 2-0 advantage heading into the break.
The Gophers jumped out to a commanding 24-13 lead in the third game, and held off a furious 12-5 Arizona run to take to game and force a fourth. The final frame lacked the excitement of the previous three, as Arizona held a 10-point advantage throughout to closeout the win.
Arizona will take on the winner of the Stanford-Ohio State match on Friday in the Pacific Region final in Palo Alto. Match time is set for 9 p.m. PST.