Sept. 18, 2012
TUCSON, Ariz. – Sophomore Madi Kingdon (Phoenix, Ariz.) recorded 20 kills and 11 digs to lift the Arizona (9-3, 1-0 Pac-12) volleyball team to a Pac-12 opening win over archrival Arizona State, 3-1 (25-20, 25-16, 20-25, 25-21), Tuesday night inside McKale Center.
The Arizona defense was outstanding all night as the Cats held ASU (11-3, 0-1 Pac-12) to just .107 hitting for the match. UA also came up big at the net by tying a season-high with 14 blocks and doubling up the Sun Devils in the blocking category. Arizona hit .204 for the night in its first ever match on the new Pac-12 Networks.
Kingdon was phenomenal all night as she recorded her team-leading fifth double-double of the season. Kingdon also added four blocks to her 20 kills and 11 digs. Halli Amaro (Los Alamitos, Calif.) also came away with double-figure kills as she recorded 11 with four blocks.
Sophomore Rachel Rhoades (San Diego, Calif.) was strong at the net with nine kills and just one error on 17 swings, while adding six blocks. Freshman Olivia Magill (Seattle, Wash.) was also huge at the net by recording a season-high seven blocks to go with four kills.
The Wildcats were also strong on the back row as junior Candace Nicholson (Long Beach, Calif.) recorded a match-high 21 digs with a team-high two service aces. Meanwhile, Ronni Lewis (San Jose, Calif.) added 11 digs and a service ace for the Cats.
The UA tandem of Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) and Lauren Fuller (Los Angeles, Calif.) combined to dish out 50 assists. Brown had 28 assists and three digs, while Fuller finished with 22 assists and seven digs.
Arizona got off to a bit of a slow start in the opening set as Arizona State jumped out to an early 4-1 lead. After the Wildcats quickly closed the gap, the Sun Devils pulled back in front 9-5. ASU remained in front until UA tied the score at 12-12. The Cats won the next two points to take the lead, which capped off a 4-0 run. The Wildcats were able to remain in front and take the set, 25-20. The Cats only hit .167 in the set, but held ASU to .065. Amaro led UA with four kills on six attempts in the opening frame.
The Wildcats kept the momentum going into the second set as they jumped out to a 6-1 lead. The Sun Devils closed the lead to two on a few occasions, but they were never able to get any closer. UA went on to cruise for the 25-16 victory to take the 2-0 lead. Amaro and Kingdon each had five kills in the set to lead the Wildcats, while they hit a solid .364 as a team.
After the intermission, ASU got off to a strong start by pulling in front 15-10. The Wildcats cut the deficit to two a couple different times, but the Sun Devils held on to take the set, 25-20. Arizona State out-hit Arizona, .211 to .108 in the frame, while Erica Wilson added five kills for ASU.
Arizona jumped out to a quick 9-3 lead in the fourth set, but a couple of miscues allowed ASU to close the gap. The Sun Devils won four straight points to pull within two at 9-7. After the Sun Devils tied the score 12-12, the Cats won six straight points to take an 18-12 lead. The Sun Devils won the next three points to pull within three, but the Wildcats were able to regain a five point lead. ASU would not go away as it pulled within two at 23-21, but back-to-back kills by Kingdon clinched the set and match for the Wildcats. Kingdon was incredible in the fourth set as she recorded eight kills and five digs to pace the Cats.
Wilson paced ASU with 18 kills, while Macey Gardner also finished in double-figures with 15. Allison Palmer dished out a match-high 40 assists in the losing effort.
The Wildcats continue Pac-12 play on Saturday when they host No. 5 Washington at 5 p.m. inside the McKale Center.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat volleyball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaVBall.