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Wildcats Complete First Exhibition Match on Saturday

Jan 16, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. -- For the first time since November on 2019, the Arizona volleyball team competed with a team other than itself.

With less than a week remaining until Arizona officially opens the 2020-21 season, the Wildcats hosted New Mexico State in an exhibition match at McKale Center. The two-time defending WAC champion Aggies defeated the Wildcats, in five sets (23-25, 25-18, 25-16, 14-25, 25-19) in the match.

Arizona head coach Dave Rubio used the match to try out different lineups in all five sets, playing both first-year setters -- freshman Emery Herman and senior transfer Akia Warrior -- for extended periods of time. Arizona was without two outside hitters due to health protocols as well.

The Wildcats were led by their lone four-year senior, outside hitter Paige Whipple. The Salem, Oregon native had a match-high 19 kills on an efficient .319 hitting percentage. She added 10 digs for a double-double and posted a team-high three aces as well.

Sophomore transfer Dilara Gedikoglu also stood out in her first match as Wildcat. The Alanya, Turkey native had 13 kills on .281 hitting. She posted eight digs and two aces as well.

Freshmen Jaelyn Hodge and China Rai Crouch led Arizona with five blocks apiece in the match. Hodge had nine kills as well.

Arizona will officially kick off the season next weekend in Salt Lake City. The Pac-12 has not yet released a schedule for the year, but Arizona is currently slated to play at Utah this Friday and Sunday.