TUCSON, Ariz. – A balanced offensive output and some solid defense lifted the Arizona volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-14) sweep of Eastern Kentucky on day two of the Arizona Desert Classic, Saturday morning inside McKale Center.
With the win, the Wildcats improved to 4-1 on the season and a perfect 2-0 thus far in the Arizona Desert Classic. Meanwhile, Eastern Kentucky fell to 4-2 overall and 0-2 in the tournament.
Nine different Wildcats had at least one kill in the match, led by a match-high nine kills from Madi Kingdon and Rachel Rhoades. Kingdon also added seven digs, while Rhoades had two blocks. Freshman Penina Snuka dished out 37 assists with five digs and two kills. Candace Nicholson and Ronni Lewis led the Wildcats on the defensive end with 14 digs and 11 digs, respectively. Halli Amaro and Taylor Arizobal each had seven kills as they both hit .375 or better. Jane Croson came off the bench to provide six kills and six digs.
The Wildcats hit .306 for the match, while limiting Eastern Kentucky to just .054 hitting for the contest. Arizona also out-blocked EKU, 5-1.
Arizona jumped out to a quick 12-4 lead in the opening set thanks to several kills and a service ace by Kingdon. The Wildcats maintained the lead for the entirety of the set and they win on for the 25-17 victory. The Arizona defense was once again solid as it held EKU to just .026 hitting, while the Cats hit .222. Kingdon led the Arizona offense with five kills in the set, while Nicholson had six digs to lead the defense.
Much like the opening set, the Wildcats stormed out to an early lead. Arizona took a 14-6 lead to open the set thanks to several early kills by Rhoades. The Cats never looked back as they cruised to a 25-15 victory to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Rhoades led the Arizona offense with six kills in the frame, while Lewis had five digs to lead the defense.
The Wildcats coasted to a 25-14 victory in the third set to clinch the match. Croson led a very balanced Arizona offense in the set with five kills. Amaro, Arizobal and Rhoades had three kills apiece. Croson and Nicholson each had five digs to pace the defense. The UA hit an impressive .452 in the set, while holding EKU to just a .161 attack efficiency.
Eastern Kentucky was led by Ashley Edmond with seven kills and seven digs, while Dena Ott led the Colonels on the defensive end with 12 digs.
Arizona will close out the Arizona Desert Classic tonight against Utah Valley at 7 p.m. A win would give the Wildcats the tournament title.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat volleyball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaVBall.