After dominating the opening set, 25-13, Arizona won tight battles in extras in both the second and third set, including fighting off four set points to erase a 24-20 deficit and win the third set, 26-24.
“It’s nice to win,” said head coach Dave Rubio. “I thought some we had some really nice bounce-back performances today.”
Arizona’s outside hitters struggled in UA’s four-set loss to Utah on Friday night, but came through in a big way on Sunday vs. Colorado. Paige Whipple led all scorers with 14 kills while Katie Smoot finished one behind with 13 kills. Elizabeth Shelton also notched a double-digit kill outing with 10 kills on .471 hitting.
The Wildcats (11-5, 1-3 Pac-12) hit .336 in the match while holding Colorado (8-6, 0-4 Pac-12) to a .198 clip. Julia Patterson had 42 assists and 11 digs, good for her fourth straight double-double and 16th in her last 17 Pac-12 matches. The senior added five kills, three blocks and two aces in another excellent performance. Patterson (2,952 career assists) is now two assists shy of moving into seventh place in Arizona history.
The NCAA leader in hitting percentage – senior middle blocker Devyn Cross – bettered her season total on Sunday. Cross had nine kills on 14 error-free swings (.643), bringing her 2019 figure to .512.
The Cats will now hit the road for two straight weekends, set to play four straight away matches vs. teams currently ranked in the AVCA Top 25. The road trip gets going with a visit to Stanford (Friday) and California (Sunday) this weekend.
Set 1 (Arizona 25, Colorado 13): Arizona used a 14-1 run to explode away from Colorado in the first set, turning a one point lead (8-7) into a 14-point lead (8-22) and cruised from there. Arizona outhit Colorado .371 to -.032 in the frame.
Set 2 (Arizona 27, Colorado 25): A monster set from Paige Whipple (10 kills, 1 error, 18 swings) made the difference in a set that came down to the wire. The Cats hit .429 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Set 3 (Arizona 26, Colorado 24): Colorado led early on in the third set, keeping the Wildcats no closer than two points all the way until the end of the set when the Buffaloes were a point away from forcing a fourth set. Down 24-20 in the third, the Wildcats scored the next six points for the walkoff sweep.
Arizona will hit the road for two straight weekends, beginning at Stanford (Oct. 11) and California (Oct. 13) next weekend.
Courtesy of Arizona Communication Services