The Arizona volleyball team did it again, backing up Friday night's sweep of defending national champion Stanford with a four-set victory on Sunday (27-25, 25-17, 21-25, 25-13), to complete the series sweep, UA's first vs. the Cardinal since 2005.
Entering the weekend, the Wildcats had four all-time victories vs. Stanford in McKale Center. Now, over the span of 72 hours, the Cats added two more to that total in what was a much-needed successful weekend for the young Arizona team, which improved to 2-4 (2-4 Pac-12) this season.
The Wildcats concluded a gauntlet of a start to the 2020-21 season that saw the Wildcats face three top-11 teams six total times over the first three weekends of the season and saw significant improvement over the latter half. After dropping the first three matches in straight sets, Arizona took No. 11 Washington to five, falling 15-13 in the fifth, last Sunday, and then got over the hump with two wins over seventh-ranked Stanford this weekend. This marks the first time Arizona has won two matches vs. top-10 opponents in one weekend since Oct. 25-26, 2001, when Arizona beat #3 USC and #6 UCLA on consecutive nights.
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On Sunday, the Cats weren't nearly as dominant as they were in the weekend's first match, but they did enough to pick up their second straight victory. The first three sets were closely contested, with the Cats coming back late to win the first set, 27-25, and then taking a 2-0 lead in the match with a 25-17 win in the second set. Stanford came back with 25-21 win in the third to force a fourth set, where the Cats won decisively, 25-13, to seal the victory and secure the weekend sweep.
Junior middle blocker Zyonna Fellows had the best match of her career, needing just 13 error-free swings to net a career-best 10 kills (.769). She added three blocks. UA's other middle, freshman China Rai Crouch, was also fantastic for UA, leading the team with five blocks while adding five kills on .444 hitting.
Freshman outside hitter Sofia Maldonado Diaz once again led Arizona with 15 kills, nearly picking up her second double-double in the process. The freshman had nine digs.
Sophomore libero Kamaile Hiapo had her best match of the young season, leading the team with a season-high 17 digs and recording one of UA's seven aces. She was one of three Wildcats with double-digit digs. Emery Herman had a double-double (34 assists, 15 digs) and Paige Whipple added 10 digs to go along with her seven kills.
After two weeks at home, the Cats will now hit the road for the upcoming weekend at Oregon. The Wildcats and the Ducks will meet on Friday and Sunday in Eugene.
KILLS — Sofia Maldonado Diaz (15)
ASSISTS — Emery Herman (34)
ACES — Malina Kalei Ua, Dilara Gedikoglu (1)
DIGS — Kamaile Hiapo (17)
BLOCKS — China Rai Crouch (5)