Arizona 3, Utah 1 Dec. 3,
Arizona 3, Utah 1Dec. 3, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY . Behind an outstanding effort by junior Kristina Baum, the No. 4-seeded Arizona volleyball team (24-5) advanced to the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002 with a 30-27, 30-26, 28-30, 30-27 victory over host school Utah (23-9) Saturday night at Crimson Court.
"We're very excited and pleased to be moving on," head coach Dave Rubio said. "But our hats are off to Utah. They played extremely well and they're going to be very good in the future with all of the young players they have".
The victory propelled Arizona into the Sweet 16 of the tournament for the seventh time in 14 seasons under Rubio. The Wildcats will face Ohio University in Palo Alto, Calif., next Friday. Match times have not been set.
Baum, who started the match 11-for-11 in kill opportunities, finished the night with 21 kills on 32 swings with just two errors for a match-high .594 hitting percentage. She also added eight assists, two aces, seven digs and a pair of block assists to finish with 24 points in the win.
"We've found a different way to win all year long," Rubio continued. "Kristina took 32 swings tonight and I'm not sure she's done that all season. People know about Kim (Glass) and Jen (Abernathy), but the effort of players like Kristina has helped us get to where we are".
As a team, Arizona finished the match with a 77 kills, a .323 hitting percentage and tallied 11 total blocks, seven aces and 58 digs.
Along with Baum's effort, Glass and Abernathy chipped in with 27 and 21 kills, respectively. Glass added 13 digs and Abernathy 11. Freshman libero Brittany Leonard led all players with a match-high 15 digs for Wildcats.
Game one was nip-and-tuck throughout the set, as both teams saw extended runs ended by timely time outs by the opposition but six kills by three different Wildcats and a 4-1advantage in blocks proved too much for the Utes to overcome. Baum, Glass and Abernathy accounted for all 18 Arizona kills in the set as UA out-hit UU .227 to .152.
After jumping out to an early six-point lead in game two, the Wildcats had to hold off numerous scoring runs by the Utes to head into the break up 2-0. Baum, Glass and Abernathy continued the lethal one-two-three punch, finishing the second game with seven, six and six kills each. The Cats hit at a much-improved .351 clip in the second frame
Despite hitting .381 in game three, five service errors and .424 attack percentage by the Utes proved to be too much for the Wildcats to complete the sweep.
Trailing 26-24 late in the fourth game, Arizona took advantage of a 6-1 run to put the match away and secure the 12th regional semi-final appearance in school history. The serving problems that cropped up in game three carried over to game four, but fortunately for the Wildcats, the Utes matched UA's futile serving as each team recorded six errors from the service line in the frame.
-- Courtesy Arizona