TUCSON, Ariz. – Senior outside hitter Madi Kindgon notched her 16th-career 20-plus-kill match, leading Arizona to a season-opening 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-20, 25-19) victory over South Dakota on Friday afternoon in the Green Bay Tournament in the Kress Events Center.
Kingdon’s 23-kill effort moved her into a tie for fourth in Arizona history with the aforementioned 16 20-plus kill matches. The Phoenix, Ariz., native added 10 digs to pick up her first double-double of the year.
Sophomore setter Penina Snuka added a double-double as well, dishing out 40 assists to go along with a team-best 18 digs.
Kingdon was five kills away from her career high while Snuka fell eight assists short.
Arizona (1-0) hit .310 in the victory, led by senior Rachel Rhoades’ .471 hitting percentage and a career-high nine kills. Sophomore Ashley Harris chipped in nine kills of her own in the match, tripling her previous career-best mark.
In addition to tying her career mark in kills, Rhoades also set a career mark in service aces, picking up three of Arizona’s four on the day. The senior’s two solo blocks led the Wildcats, who had eight blocks as a team. Arizona out-blocked South Dakota 8.0-4.0 for the match.
South Dakota (0-1) was led by Audrey Reeg and Kendall Kritenbrink, who registered 15 and 13 kills, respectively. The Coyotes hit .248 as a team.
The first set was an offensive battle, with both teams posting stellar hitting percentages in the first frame. The Wildcats hit .615 in the first set while the Coyotes hit .480. South Dakota got out to an early 2-0 lead and battled Arizona neck and neck early. After the game was tied at 12, the Cats took four of the next five points and never looked back, keeping the Coyotes an arm’s length away and ultimately winning the set 25-20. Kingdon notched seven kills on just eight attacks in the set while Snuka dished out 13 assists with three digs and two kills.
The second set was a different story, as the Wildcats had seven attack errors after having just one in the first set. Arizona led the game 12-9 before South Dakota went a 12-4 run to take a 21-16 lead. The Coyotes would go on to take the second set 25-20. Arizona hit just .111 in the second set after the stellar offensive start.
Kingdon’s eight kills led Arizona to a 25-20 victory in the third set. After trailing 2-1, Arizona grabbed the lead and never trailed again in the set. The Cats scored five of the set’s final seven points after South Dakota pulled within two at 20-18. Arizona hit .289 in the set. Snuka dropped nine assists and had a team-high seven digs in the set.
The Cats closed it out with a 25-19 victory in the fourth set. Arizona’s defense was solid in the fourth set, racking up four blocks and holding USD to a match-worst .132 hitting percentage in the final set. Arizona, meanwhile, hit .310 in the set. After the two teams battled back and forth in the early going. After the Coyotes tied the game at 11, the Wildcats went on a 6-2 run to seize control of the set. Sophomore transfer Kalei Mau had her most productive set, registering three kills in nine attempts.
Arizona concludes the Green Bay Tournament on Saturday with two contests. The Wildcats take on host Green Bay at 10 a.m. before wrapping up the tournament against Kansas State at 2:30 p.m. PDT.
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