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Cats Dominant in Straight-Set Win vs. Arizona State

Mar 5, 2021

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- In its best offensive match of the season, Arizona Volleyball opened up rivalry week with a straight-set win (25-19, 25-19, 25-20) vs. Arizona State in McKale Center on Friday afternoon.

The Wildcats totaled 49 kills on .369 hitting in the match vs. the Sun Devil defense. The 49 kills were UA's most in a three-set match this season and the .369 hitting percentage was Arizona's best of the season by nearly .100 points. Five different Wildcats -- Sofia Maldonado Diaz, Merle Weidt, Jaelyn Hodge, Zyonna Fellows and Emery Herman -- hit at least .300 with four-or-more kills.

Arizona used tough serving to take the Sun Devils out of system and create easy opportunities on its side of the net. UA had six aces, including a career-most three from Jaleesa Caroccio.

For the 10th time in the last 11 matches, UA was led by freshman outside hitter Sofia Maldonado Diaz, who needed just 22 swings to net 12 kills (.455) and added six digs and two aces on the afternoon.

In her third career start and first ever in McKale Center, junior middle blocker Merle Weidt, who is filling in for the injured China Rai Crouch, had a monster match for the Cats. Weidt had a season-high nine kills on 12 error-free swings, hitting .750 for the Cats on the night. The nine kills were the second most that an Arizona middle blocker has recorded all season.

Freshman setter Emery Herman dished out 38 assists and ran the offense very efficiently on Friday. She had seven digs, four kills on .500 hitting and ace in the match.

Arizona's win captures a half of a point in the territorial cup series, with the second half up for grabs on Sunday in Tempe. Arizona improves to 53-45 in the all-time series vs. the Sun Devils, and ends a streak of two-straight wins for ASU in the series.

The win was Arizona's fifth straight victory in McKale Center this season. UA is 5-8 (5-8 Pac-12) on the season. The loss was Arizona State's 10th straight and dropped the Sun Devils to 1-10 (1-10 Pac-12) this year. The two teams meet on Sunday at 4 p.m. MST in a match televised by the Pac-12 Networks.