TUCSON, Ariz. – After storming back to beat Grand Canyon in a thriller this morning, the Arizona sand volleyball team closed out the Arizona Invitational in style by defeating rival Arizona State, 4-1, Saturday evening at the Arizona Sand Volleyball Courts.
"I was really happy for the fans, the community, and our department," head coach Steve Walker said. "I think we put on a great presentation and showed that making sand volleyball the 20th sport was the right choice. I couldn't be happier. We were looking for a fun festive atmosphere and I think we hit it right on the head."
Arizona improved to 3-0 after its opening weekend and by defeating Arizona State, the Wildcats earned a half point in the Territorial Cup Series. The two teams will face off again in Tempe on April 24. With the loss, ASU dropped to 1-1 on the season. The Sun Devils defeated Arizona Christian earlier in the day.
The Wildcats got off to a strong start to the match as they won both matches in the first round of play as both the No. 4 and No. 5 teams earned victories. Allie Cook and Penina Snuka got the first victory of the match in the No. 4 position as they knocked off Geneveev Pirote-Mariner and Bre Bailey, 21-13, 21-9. Snuka and Cook finished the weekend a perfect 3-0 and they were named to the Arizona Invitational All-Tournament Team. Meanwhile, the No. 5 team of Emily Kiser and Sarah Seiber remained perfect on the year after defeating Nora Tuoti-Mariner and Andy Lowrance, 21-15, 21-19.
All Arizona needed was one more match win to clinch the victory over ASU and it quickly got it as twins Madison and McKenna Witt were impressive at the No. 2 position as they defeated Macey Gardner and Whitney Follette in straight sets, 21-14, 21-15.
The Wildcats closed out the evening with a victory at the No. 1 position as Madi Kingdon and Jane Croson downed Bianca Arellano and Bethany Jorgenson, 19-21, 21-15, 15-6.
ASU did pick up a victory at the No. 3 position with Jordy Chekal and McKenzie Willie defeating Rachel Rhoades and Ronni Lewis, 21-18, 23-21.
The Wildcats will be back in action next weekend as they host the Wildcat Spring Challenge. Arizona will take on Arizona Christian on Friday at 2 p.m. and Tulane on Saturday at noon.
Arizona 4 Arizona State 1
#1 Madi Kingdon/Jane Croson (Ariz) def. Bianca Arellano/Bethany Jorgenson (ASU), 19-21, 21-15, 15-6
#2 Madison Witt/McKenna Witt (Ariz) def. Macey Gardner/Whitney Follette (ASU) 21-14, 21-15
#3 Jordy Checkal/McKenzie Willey (ASU) def. Rachel Rhoades/Ronni Lewis (Ariz), 21-18, 23-21
#4 Allie Cook/Penina Snuka (Ariz) def. Genevieve Pirotte/BreElle Bailey (ASU), 21-13, 21-9
#5 Emily Kiser/Sarah Seiber (Ariz) def. Nora Tuioti-Mariner/Andi Lowrance (ASU), 21-15, 21-19