Nov. 30, 2001
Champaign, Ill.-The fourth-ranked Arizona volleyball team cruised to its seventh opening round victory in school history with a 3-0 win over Eastern Illinois, Friday night. Game scores of the match, played in Huff Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois, were 30-14, 30-14, 30-21. The victory improves Arizona's overall record to 22-4 for the season and an even 16-16 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Arizona will face either host school Illinois or Missouri tomorrow in the second round at 5 p.m. CST.
Game one was close early at 11-7, but a season high tying nine straight points gave UA a 20-7 advantage that it would never look back from. Junior Lisa Rutledge, who recorded her 1,000 career kill in the game, led the Wildcat charge with six of her match-high 17 kills in the opening frame, including three in the nine-point UA swing. Arizona tallied five aces from the service line and dominated offensively with 18 kills on 32 attempts, while committing only two errors for a .500 attack percentage. Senior Jill Talbot was perfect in game one with four kills on four attempts and junior Stefani Saragosa finished with four kills on .800 hitting and three block assists.
The Wildcats jumped out early in game two and cruised to an easy victory. Arizona improved on its game one hitting with a .517 attack percentage in the second frame. Wildcat attackers committed only one error in the frame while tallying 16 kills.
The Panthers put up a determined fight in game three, keeping the score close through out the first half and even tied the match up as late as 15-15, but the fifth-seeded Wildcats' experience and power proved to be too much. Although only hitting .180 in the game, Arizona still managed 16 kills to EIU's 11.
For the match, Arizona hit .360 with 50 kills on 111 swings while recording only 10 errors. The Cats out-blocked EIU 8-3, out-dug them 45-23 and served up seven aces to the Panther's three. Rutledge's 17 killls established her as the only player in the match to tally double digit kills. Senior Jill Talbot turned in a match-high 12 digs and seven kills in the Arizona win, while junior Stefani Saragosa finished with eight kills and sophomore Christina Frost, starting in place of Shannon Torregrosa, had seven kills and 10 digs.
Arizona will face the winner of the Illinois/Missouri match (in progress) tomorrow at 5 p.m. CST. Should Illinois advance to face the Wildcats, Arizona fans can listen to the Illini radio broadcast located on UI's home page, www.fighingillini.com.