Dec. 6, 2001
LOS ANGELES, Calif.- The fourth-ranked Arizona volleyball team advanced to its second consecutive Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA Championship Tournament with a 3-0 sweep over 12th-ranked Pacific in the L.A. Sports Arena in Los Angeles, Calif., Thursday night. Game scores of the regional semifinal match were 30-26, 30-24, 30-27. The Wildcats will face the winner of the other Sweet Sixteen match in their bracket, either fifth-ranked USC, or no. 10 Ohio State tomorrow night at 6 p.m. PST.
Arizona began the match on an ace serve by senior All-American candidate Dana Burkholder and never looked back. The Wildcats dominated the Tigers at the net with eight total blocks of UOP attacks, including five solo efforts as both Wildcat middle blockers posted impressive matches. Junior Stefani Saragosa and senior Erin Sebbas combined to tally 20 kills on .410 hitting on offense and continually altered and blocked the potent Pacific attack.
Game one was all Arizona from Burkholder's ace until match point. The Wildcats built up a three-point advantage early and would never see their lead shrink to less than that. Burkholder yet again displayed her ability to distribute the ball amongst the Wildcat attackers, as four UA players posted three or more kills in the opening game. Saragosa and Lisa Rutledge carried the load early for Arizona as each recorded four kills in game one. The Tigers were able to stave off a seven point Wildcat advantage at match point four times, but would eventually succumb to the Cats and surrender the game to fall behind 1-0.
Game two went back and forth, as the two schools traded points and scoring runs up to the final point of the set. Each time either school would put together a string of points, their opposite number would counter with a flurry of their own. Arizona wasn't able to break away until late, as it tallied a 6-1 scoring run to take a 22-15 advantage. After that, the Tigers would creep no closer than six points as Shannon Torregrosa took over the match. The junior outside hitter posted eight of her match-high 14 kills in game two as the Wildcats went into the break up 2-0.
Coming out of the break, the Wildcats continued its focused and determined attack and left little doubt as to who would be advancing on into the Elite Eight. Arizona posted four total blocks in the final game, including two solo efforts by Torregrosa. The Cats broke a 10-10 deadlock with a 5-0 run and cruised the rest of the way, as Pacific could get no closer than four to Arizona's lead.