First round fail - Tucson News Now

First round fail

PROVO, Utah - The Arizona volleyball team was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament with a three-set loss to Western Kentucky in the first round (25-22, 25-15, 25-17) in Provo, Utah on Friday evening.

The loss brought the end of a record-setting career for lone four-year senior Halli Amaro, who broke the Arizona record for sets played with 454 on Friday.

The Wildcats ended the season 19-14, giving the Wildcats 64 victories over the past three seasons, its most in a three-year span since winning 73 from 2000-02. UA came just one win shy of its third straight 20-win season, also something that Arizona hasn’t done since 2000-02.

Arizona’s NCAA Tournament appearance was its third consecutive and sixth in the last seven years. Overall, head coach Dave Rubio has led Arizona to 18 NCAA Tournament appearances in his 24 years.

Penina Snuka, who was named to the all-Pac-12 team earlier in the week, picked up her conference-leading 22nd double-double with 26 assists and 15 digs. The junior put up double-doubles in 11 of Arizona’s last 12 matches of the season. Depending on the remaining matches in the NCAA Tournament, Snuka’s 22 double-doubles should lead the league, marking her second straight season leading the conference in double-doubles (2014 – 25). The Gilbert, Ariz., native will enter her senior season already in the Arizona top 10 in career digs (1,209 – 4th) and assists (3,779 – 5th).

Arizona outblocked Western Kentucky (32-3, 15-1 Conference USA) 9-4 in the match, but without all-Pac-12 performer Kalei Mau (concussion), Arizona struggled to muster much offense against the Conference USA Champions. Arizona hit just .102 in the match compared to WKU’s .261 clip.

McKenzie Jacobson was Arizona’s lone player with double-digit kills, providing 10 kills on .444 hitting. The redshirt sophomore added a pair of blocks as well.

After Penina Snuka recorded kills on the first two points of the match, Western Kentucky ripped off an 8-2 run to take an early four-point lead in the first. Arizona used a 4-0 run to cut Western Kentucky's lead to one at 14-13, but the Hilltoppers were able to re-extend their lead to four at 21-17. UA scored the next three points to cut Western Kentucky's lead to one (21-20), but it would be as close as Arizona would come as the Hilltoppers won the set 25-22 to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

The Hilltoppers carried that momentum into the second set, scoring five of the first six and seven of the first 10 points of the frame. Western Kentucky's lead maxed out at seven (13-6) before the Cats fought back within four on multiple occasions, but the Hilltoppers ended the set on a fury, taking the frame 25-15.

The Cats grabbed the early lead in the third set before the Hilltoppers tied the frame at six took their first lead at 7-6. WKU then gradually pulled away, winning the third set 25-17 to take match in three sets.

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