TUCSON, Ariz. – In three sets (25-22, 25-20, 25-20), the University of Arizona volleyball team defeated UCLA on Friday night inside McKale Center. The Wildcats improved their record to 14-5, 4-3 in Pac-12, while UCLA fell to 10-7 (1-6 Pac-12).
Junior Madi Kingdon led the Wildcat offense with 13 kills followed by Jane Croson with 10. Kingdon hit a solid .324 on the night as she also added nine digs, two aces, two blocks and an assist. Croson also contributed eight digs to go along with her 10 kills.
Penina Snuka dished out a match-high 30 assists to go along with 10 digs for her ninth double-double of the season, which ties Kingdon for top honors in the Pac-12. In addition, Snuka recorded a match-high three service aces, while also chipping in a kill and a block. Olivia Magill was efficient as she recorded seven kills on .412 hitting to go with three blocks. Defensively, Candace Nicholson and Ronni Lewis combined for a total of 27 digs to lead the team.
Arizona was solid behind the service line as it recorded five service aces with no errors, while UCLA had just one ace and 10 errors. The Wildcats were out-hit by the Bruins .242 to .218, but Arizona finished with a 7-5 advantage in blocks.
The opening set was full of offense as both teams hit over .300. After back and forth play with each team holding the lead, UCLA battled to a 22-21 advantage, which forced an Arizona timeout. After the break, the Wildcats won the next two points to pull in front 23-22 as UCLA also used a timeout. After a UCLA error gave Arizona set point, Croson connected on a call to win the set, 25-22. Croson led the Cats with seven kills in the set. Incredibly, the Bruins hit .406 in the set, while the Wildcats hit a solid .314.
Arizona rode the momentum from the opening set victory as it jumped out to a 7-4 advantage in the second frame. However, UCLA answered with a 4-0 run to gain an 8-7 lead. The Bruins built their lead to 15-12 before the Wildcats used a timeout to regroup. After the timeout, Arizona reeled off five straight points to regain the lead 17-15. From there, the Wildcats never looked back as they took the set, 25-20. Arizona won the set despite being out-hit for the second straight time. UCLA hit .245 as the Wildcats hit .220. Kingdon led the Cats with five kills in the set.
The Wildcats kept their foot on the pedal in the third set as they stormed out to a 9-3 lead, forcing UCLA to burn an early timeout. UA never looked back from there. The Bruins led Arizona in kills, 14-10, but their two service errors and two attacking errors proved costly as the Wildcats took the set, 25-20. After starting the first set with a .406 attacking percentage, UCLA finished the third set with a .128 percentage thanks to Arizona’s 25 digs and three blocks.
Karsta Lowe led the UCLA offense with a match-high 15 kills, while Karly Drolson added a match-high 18 digs to pace the Bruins defensively.
Arizona will be back in action on Sun., Oct. 20 to take on No. 1 USC at 2:30 p.m. at McKale Center. The match will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat volleyball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaVBall.