Cats’ Sweet 16 Bid Comes Up Short vs. BYU

TUCSON Despite a career-high 32 kills from Madi Kingdon, eleventh-seeded Arizona volleyball fell in four sets Friday night to BYU (25-22, 20-25, 23-25, 23-25) at McKale Center.

The loss ended Arizona’s most successful season since 2005. UA’s 24 victories were the most since the 2005 campaign.

"It's never any fun losing,” said Arizona head coach Dave Rubio. “I thought it was a pretty good match and the better team won tonight. They took us out of the areas that we normally do really well in and it really came down to two skills for us and that was serving and passing. Their serving and passing tonight was exceptional and that put us in positions where we couldn't run our offense and we were relying too much on the outside sets where we couldn't score. Game one we were able to sustain enough momentum to win game one. Games two, three and four we were in positions to win but when we got stuck in rotations and couldn't score. Those guys really served well today and they're a lot bigger than we are, it was a difficult match up for us."

It also ended the career of Kingdon, who leaves Arizona as one of the best in Wildcat history. Fittingly, Kingdon, who entered today with the Arizona record in career matches played, recorded more kills in her 129th match than she did in her previous 128, 32, tied for the seventh most in a match in school history. Kingdon leaves Arizona second in kills (1,943) and second in digs (1,366).

The Cats won the first set, limiting BYU to a .026 hitting percentage, but UA was unable to muster much offense against the nation’s leading blocking team. The Cougars, who had 11 blocks in the match, limited Arizona to a .158 hitting percentage in the match.

In the first set, the teams battled neck and neck, with neither team taking a three point lead until Arizona led 15-12 and extended to 16-12 on a Ronni Lewis ace. BYU would take the next three points and later tie the set, but Arizona broke away late, using three consecutive Madi Kingdon kills to take a 23-20 lead. UA would win the set 25-22.

BYU took the early lead in the second, leading comfortably until a 3-0 Arizona run tied the set at eight. The teams exchanged points until BYU went on a 9-1 run to take a 23-17 lead. BYU would win the second set 25-20.

The Cougars raced out an early lead in the third set as well. BYU led 11-6 until a 4-0 Arizona run got the Cats got back within one. BYU would re-extend its lead to four before Arizona tied it up at 20. The teams split the next six points before BYU took the final two points to win the third 25-23 and take a 2-1 lead in the match.

Arizona appeared poised to tie the match at two when it led 19-13 in the fourth and again 23-20. BYU scored the set’s final five points to win the match in four sets.   

For more information on Arizona volleyball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter (@ArizonaVBall).

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