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Cats Battle, But Fall in Five Sets to No. 11 Washington

Jan 30, 2021

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona took 11th-ranked Washington to the brink, but fell in five hard-fought sets on Saturday night to the Huskies (19-25, 25-17, 25-27, 25-21, 15-13) in McKale Center.

The Wildcats took a giant step forward, taking two of the the first three sets, but fell just short in the fourth and fifth sets to drop the match.

For the second straight night, freshman Sofia Maldonado Diaz was the breakout star for the Wildcats. The Guadalajara, Mexico native posted a match-most 25 kills on an incredibly efficient .439 hitting. She had 11 digs for her first career double-double and added three blocks, an ace and two assists as well. Her 25 kills are the most by an Arizona freshman since Tiffany Owens had 25 vs. Arizona State on Nov. 7, 2007. Her 20+ kill double-double is the first by an Arizona freshman since Madi Kingdon in 2011. She is the first Wildcat, of any class, to have 25-or-more kills on .400 hitting since Owens' 32 kills on .426 hitting as a senior at Oregon State on Oct. 8, 2010.

Maldonado Diaz was just one of Arizona's freshmen to step up on Saturday night. Setter Emery Herman finished two kills shy of a triple-double, posting 53 assists, 13 digs and eight kills on .538 hitting -- all career highs. Outside hitter Jaelyn Hodge has 12 kills while middle blocker China Rai Crouch posted five kills on eight swings with a team-most six blocks.

For the second straight night, the Wildcats finished with more kills than the 11th-ranked Huskies, out-killing UW 70-67 in the match. The Huskies hit .324 in the match to the Wildcats' .269 hitting percentage.

The Wildcats fell to 0-4 on the season while the Huskies improved to 3-1. UA will now get ready to host third-ranked Stanford next week. It will be Stanford's first matches of the season after the Cardinal were just allowed to begin practicing this week.

KILLS » Sofia Maldonado Diaz (25)
ASSISTS » Emery Herman (55)
ACES » Dilara Gedikoglu (2)
DIGS » Emery Herman, Paige Whipple (13)
BLOCKS » China Rai Crouch (6)