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Cats Fall to Hawaii, Place Fifth at NCAA Beach Championship

May 7, 2016

GULF SHORES, Ala. – The sixth-ranked Arizona sand volleyball team concluded its second day of play at the NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship as the team fell to Hawaii, 0-3, eliminating them from the tournament in Gulf Shores, Ala. 

"I felt like Hawaii really got off to a fast start with some aggressive serving in most of the match ups and that sort of forced us onto our heels," said Head coach Steve Walker. "From there their typical strong transition play really came into affect and we took to long to get our side out game on track. If the dual goes to a conclusion we likely drop the contest 3-2 today. It was a very good team effort, but Hawaii played very, very well all tournament."

The Wildcats came out to battle as they took on No. 5 seed Hawaii, but struggled to pull through. Arizona's No. 3 pair of Olivia Macdonald and Sam Manley fell to Hawaii duo of Long and Tucker, (13-21, 16-21). The Sand Cats No. 2 tandem of Jianna Bonomi and Katarina Schulz struggled in the first set and battled as they came close in the second set, but dropped to Schucht and Taylor, (5-21,18-21). Hawaii's No. 5 pair of Homayun and Rooks picked up a win against UA's Mackenzie Kleespies and Tyler Lucas in consecutive sets, (13-21,17-21). The Wildcats No. 4 team of Mia Mason and Kalei Mau earned a victory against Bailey and Knudsen in first set, (21-19) and UA's No. 1 team of Madison and McKenna picked up a win in the first set, (21-17). Hawaii swept three consecutive matches eliminating Arizona from the championship tournament, (0-3).

"This season was one that had a lot of meaning and was one that I was very thrilled ended in a bid to the 1st ever-national championships," said Walker. "I wanted the bid so much for our seniors, who gave us so very much in the time they were with the program. And for the underclassmen to see what the pressure of competing for a national championship looks and feels like. Goals were certainly met this year, but we look to continually raise the stakes as the program grows."

UA accomplished many successes this season with head coach, Steve Walker being selected as Pac-12 Coach of the Year. No. 1 duo of Madison and McKenna Witt were also selected onto the Pac-12 All-Conference First Team and No. 2 Jianna Bonomi and Katarina Schulz were selected onto Pac-12 All-Conference Second Team. Arizona will lose Jianna Bonomi, Katarina Schulz, Nikki Attea and Kalei Mau who are the fours seniors that contributed to the first year in Arizona Sand Volleyball history that the team constructed a 20-win season. The Wildcats now hold a (20-7) record to end the season. 

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