TUCSON, Ariz. – After recording a career-high 36 digs in her final match in McKale Center, senior libero Candace Nicholson earned Arizona’s first ever Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honor, the league announced on Monday.
Nicholson led the Arizona defense in a much needed win over rival Arizona State on Friday with her career-best performance. The 36 digs were just one off the school’s all-time record for a single match. Nicholson recorded her 36 digs in just four-sets, while Katie Jackels’ school record came in a five-set match against Saint Mary’s on August 25, 2007.
Nicholson’s effort also equaled the most digs in the Pac-12 for single match this season. Nicholson’s previous career-high for digs was 28, which she recorded in a five-set match at Oregon earlier this year.
Arizona earned its 20th victory of the season, the most since also winning 20 matches back in 2010. In the victory against ASU, the Wildcats recorded 103 digs as a team, the seventh most in school history for a single match.
Nicholson has etched her name into the Arizona record books as she has the most career and single-season digs in school history, absolutely shattering both records. Nicholson has recorded 1,620 career digs, already more than 300 better than the previous school record of 1,297 by Terry Lauchner from 1987-90.
Meanwhile, her 490 single-season digs are over 70 more than the previous single-season school record of 414 by Tiffany Owens in 2010. Her 4.45 digs per set will also go down as a school record for a single-season.
This is the first time an Arizona student-athlete has won the defensive player of the week award. The honor was introduced in 2010.
Arizona earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the 25th time since 1981. The Wildcats will travel to San Diego, Calif. to take on New Mexico State (22-10) on Friday, Dec. 6 at 6:00 p.m. MST. The University of San Diego, seeded ninth nationally, will host the first and second round matches on campus at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Toreros will host UC Santa Barbara in the other first round match at the site. If the Wildcats advance past the first and second rounds, they will travel to Lincoln, Neb. for the Sweet 16.
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