TUCSON, Ariz. – After storming back to beat Grand Canyon in a thriller this morning, the Arizona sand volleyball team closed out the Arizona Invitational in style by defeating rival Arizona State, 4-1, Saturday evening at the Arizona Sand Volleyball Courts.
"I was really happy for the fans, the community, and our department,” head coach Steve Walker said. “I think we put on a great presentation and showed that making sand volleyball the 20th sport was the right choice. I couldn't be happier. We were looking for a fun festive atmosphere and I think we hit it right on the head."
Arizona improved to 3-0 after its opening weekend and by defeating Arizona State, the Wildcats earned a half point in the Territorial Cup Series. The two teams will face off again in Tempe on April 24. With the loss, ASU dropped to 1-1 on the season. The Sun Devils defeated Arizona Christian earlier in the day.
The Wildcats got off to a strong start to the match as they won both matches in the first round of play as both the No. 4 and No. 5 teams earned victories. Allie Cook and Penina Snuka got the first victory of the match in the No. 4 position as they knocked off Geneveev Pirote-Mariner and Bre Bailey, 21-13, 21-9. Snuka and Cook finished the weekend a perfect 3-0 and they were named to the Arizona Invitational All-Tournament Team. Meanwhile, the No. 5 team of Emily Kiser and Sarah Seiber remained perfect on the year after defeating Nora Tuoti-Mariner and Andy Lowrance, 21-15, 21-19.
All Arizona needed was one more match win to clinch the victory over ASU and it quickly got it as twins Madison and McKenna Witt were impressive at the No. 2 position as they defeated Macey Gardner and Whitney Follette in straight sets, 21-14, 21-15.
The Wildcats will be back in action next weekend as they host the Wildcat Spring Challenge. Arizona will take on Arizona Christian on Friday at 2 p.m. and Tulane on Saturday at noon.
Arizona 4 Arizona State 1
Order of Finish:
4, 5, 2, 3, 1
Arizona Invitational All-Tournament Team
Penina Snuka – Arizona
Allie Cook – Arizona
Shannon Dugan – Grand Canyon
Kelli Dallmann – Grand Canyon
Jordy Checkal – Arizona State
McKenzie Willey – Arizona State
Kailaa Heaney – Arizona Christian
Haley Worden – Arizona Christian
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat sand volleyball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaSandVB and on Instagram @arizonasandvolleyball.