Nov. 17, 2001
TUCSON, Ariz.- In a clash of two of volleyball's heavyweights, the bout between third-ranked Stanford and fourth-ranked Arizona went the distance. The Cardinal (25-2, 16-1 Pac-10), who struggled early in games one and two, recovered to steal the momentum from the Wildcats (19-4, 14-4 Pac-10) and rallied to win the final three frames and the match. Game scores were 30-22, 30-18, 21-30, 14-30, 11-15. The loss snapped Arizona's season high winning streak at 11 straight and was Arizona's first loss in McKale Center since Oct. 12, 2000, a span that cover 19 matches. With the victory Stanford clinched at least a share of the 2001 Pac-10 title.
Games one and two were all Arizona, as UA streaked ahead early and held on to win each game. The Cardinal found the Wildcat serve difficult to deal with in the opening two games, committing nine of their 15 service reception errors on the night. Arizona hit .250 in game one and a match-high .438 in game two and headed into the break up 2-0.
Game three was a reversal of fortune as the Stanford offense took advantage of an error prone Arizona attack and passing game. The Wildcats committed 11 hitting errors in the game while Stanford posted a .345 attack percentage, extending the match at least one more game.
The Cardinal took control in game three, handing Arizona its worst loss in game under the new rally scoring format. The Wildcats struggled to find any sort of rhythm on offense as the Cardinal block proved a tough nut to crack. Arizona again committed 11 hitting errors and posted only eight kills as it struggled to get past the Cardinal at the net. Stanford posted 7.5 team blocks in the frame, over half the 14.5 blocks it would tally on the night.
The fifth and final game was neck-and-neck as Arizona continually kept the match within a one point Stanford advantage. Separated at 12-11 in Stanford's favor late, the Cardinal ran off three straight points and ended the emotional match.
The Wildcats finished the Pac-10 portion of their season with the loss, but will host a Thanksgiving Tournament next weekend. The tournament will feature UC Santa Barbara, San Diego State and Denver in four matches played over two days. The Wildcats will face Denver on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and either UCSB or SDSU on Saturday.