Dec. 2, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas -
In a season where no one knew what to expect, the Arizona Volleyball team concluded its run with a 3-1 loss to Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday in Austin, Texas. The Spartans defeated the Wildcats, 3-1 (18-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-21).
In her last match as a Wildcat, senior Courtney Karst (Centennial, Colo.) led her team with 15 kills and only one error for her second-best hitting percentage of the season at .438.
In the first set, the teams played evenly, tying the score five times before Arizona went on a 3-0 run to go up 9-6. The Spartans evened the score again at 10-10 and took the lead 11-10, but the Wildcats tied it again at 12 and sparked a 5-0 run to put Arizona up 16-12. Michigan State could not overcome the deficit and the Wildcats took set one, 25-18.
The roles were reversed in the second set, as the Spartans went on a 5-1 when the teams were tied at seven to go up 12-8. The Wildcats fought back, but could not narrow the score and MSU went on another 5-1 to close the set, 25-17.
The third set was tight from the first point, as neither team led by more than two, but Michigan State came out on top as it went on a 5-0 run at 20-20 to win set four 25-20.
The fourth set was more of the same, as neither team led by more than two until the Spartans went on a 5-1 run at 20-20 to close out the set 25-20 and the match, 3-1.
“It was a frustrating match for us, because we just made too many attacking errors,” Arizona head coach David Rubio said. “We just erred ourselves out of the match. When we are on, it’s when we aren’t making as many attacking errors. You might attribute that to the fact that we are young and inexperienced, but they were able to score and we weren’t.”
Throughout the season, four freshmen have consistently started for Arizona and many shone in their tournament debut.
Freshman Chloe Mathis (La Jolla, Calif.) took over setting duties for the Wildcats and became one of the team’s most reliable players, recording her sixth and third-consecutive double-double of the season against the Spartans with 40 assists and 10 digs. Mathis also had five kills and no hitting errors.
In addition, freshmen Madi Kingdon (Phoenix, Ariz.) posted 15 kills and six digs, Rachel Rhoades (San Diego, Calif.) had five kills and five blocks and Taylor Arizobal (Dana Hills, Calif.) added six kills and two blocks.
Sophomore Candace Nicholson (Long Beach, Calif.) had another consistent showing for the Wildcats with 10 digs for her 22nd match with double-digit digs this season.
“We are disappointed we lost in the first round,” Rubio said. “But we will go back to the drawing board and get ready for 2012.”
For complete results and continued coverage of Arizona Volleyball, visit www.ArizonaWildcats.com.