TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona volleyball team had three players record double-doubles and the Cats recorded a season-high 20.5 blocks to defeat Portland State, 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 25-19, 31-29), Friday night on day two of the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Volleyball Challenge in Honolulu.
Arizona improved its record to 7-1 on the season and a perfect 2-0 in the tournament, while Portland State dropped to 3-6 on the season and 0-2 in the tournament.
For the second night in a row, the Wildcats struggled as a team offensively, but their defense certainly picked up the slack. Arizona recorded 20.5 blocks on the night – its most since stuffing Arizona State 21 times back on Sept. 22, 2006. In addition, the Cats held Portland State to just a .086 hitting percentage on the night.
Several players came up big for the Cats as Madi Kingdon led the way with a season-high 22 kills to go along with 17 digs and six blocks. Sophomore Olivia Magill was a force at the night all night long as she recorded a career-high 10 blocks to go with 12 kills on .400 hitting. The 10 blocks by Magill were the most by an Arizona player since Cursty Jackson also recorded 10 against Oregon in 2010. Meanwhile, freshman Penina Snuka filled up the stat sheet once again with 38 assists, 10 digs, seven kills and four blocks.
The Wildcats also out-dug the Vikings, 90-75 on the night. The 90 digs were the most for the Cats since recording 95 in a five-set match over UCLA in 2010. In addition to Kingdon’s 17 digs, Candace Nicholson finished with a team-high 19 digs, while freshman Laura Larson came up big with a career-high 15 digs. Ronni Lewis also finished in double-figures with 11 digs.
The Wildcats got off to a solid start as they led 12-9 in the opening set. Arizona maintained the lead at 15-12 thanks to a couple of Portland State attack errors and a kill by Halli Amaro. However, PSU battled quickly erased the deficit after going on a 4-0 run to take a 16-15 advantage. Arizona managed to tie the score at 16-16 then again at 19-19, but the Vikings won the next two points and never looked back. Portland State went on to win the set, 25-22. Neither team could muster up much offense in the set as the Vikings hit just .111 and the Wildcats hit just .100.
After Portland State won the opening point of the second set, Arizona won the next six points to take the early 6-1 advantage. The Wildcats maintained their lead and used another 5-0 run to turn a 13-9 lead into an 18-9 lead. A solid effort defensively led the Cats to the 25-17 victory in the set. The Vikings were held to just a .020 hitting percentage in the frame, while the Cats had six blocks.
Arizona jumped out to a quick start in the third set as it turned a 6-5 advantage into an 11-5 lead after a 5-0 run. The Wildcats looked as if they were going to cruise to the victory after leading 20-12, but Portland State kept fighting and even pulled to within two at 21-19. However, Arizona put together a timely 4-0 run to close out the set, 25-19. The Cats hit .289 in the set, while limiting the Vikings to just .118 hitting.
Portland State got off to a hot start in the fourth set as it took the early 11-5 lead. However, the Wildcats quickly evened things up after a pair of 3-0 runs. After back and forth play, Arizona turned a 20-20 tie into a 23-20 lead after two kills from Magill and a kill by Shaquillah Torres. Following a point by Portland State, Magill provided another kill to give Arizona set point at 24-21. Then, the Vikings went on a 4-0 run to take a 25-24 lead, which earned them set point. After some back and forth play for the next several points and with the match tied 29-29, a Snuka kill and a Portland State attack error ended the wild set, 31-29.
Kaeli Patton led Portland State with 14 kills, while Kasimira Clark finished with a match-high 21 digs.
The Wildcats will close out the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Volleyball Challenge against host and No. 10 Hawaii beginning at 10 p.m. (MST). The winner of that match will take home the tournament title.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat volleyball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaVBall.