Arizona volleyball comes back from huge deficit to beat UCLA - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Arizona volleyball comes back from huge deficit to beat UCLA

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LOS ANGELES - Down two sets to zero, Arizona fought back, winning the final three sets at Pauley Pavilion to complete the improbable comeback victory over No. 18 UCLA (18-25, 17-25, 25-16, 25-21, 15-12). Arizona set a season-high with 98 digs.

“We had to dig deep for this one,” said head coach Dave Rubio. “It’s been a while since I’ve been involved in a match like that. I am extremely proud of how we fought back against a really good UCLA team.”

The victory gave Arizona a sweep of its Los Angeles road trip following its sweep of No. 22 USC on Friday. Since the beginning of Pac-10 volleyball in 1986, this is the first time Arizona has defeated both the Trojans and the Bruins in Los Angeles.

“It means a lot to the players,” said Rubio. “I knew this team had the chance to be competitive at the highest level and this weekend proved that.”

On Sunday, Arizona's defense was the story. UA posted a season-high 98 digs, which would have been the most by any Pac-12 team this season had UCLA not posted 102 in the match. 

After two sets, UCLA was hitting .333 in the match. In the final three, Arizona held the Bruins to a .149 clip. 

Penina Snuka (45 assists, 25 digs), Kalei Mau (18 kills, 17 digs) and Kendra Dahlke (12 kills, 17 digs) all posted double-doubles in the contest. Laura Larson (16) and Makenna Martin (11) were also in double-digits in digs as well.

Trailing 2 sets to 0, Arizona found its spark off the bench. Tyler Spriggs did not have an attack in the first two sets. In the final three sets, Spriggs had 12 kills on 24 error-free swings, three digs and three blocks. Seven of Spriggs' kills came in the third set, helping the Cats get their momentum going that they would carry into the fourth and fifth sets.

“Tyler Spriggs played lights out,” said Rubio. “She subbed in the third set and came up huge for us.”

UA outblocked UCLA 10-9 in the match. McKenzie Jacobson led the Wildcats with five blocks. She added 10 kills on .391 hiting offensively.

The five-set comeback marked the first time since Nov. 2, 2002 (vs. Washington State) that Arizona came back to win after dropping the first two sets.

The Bruins ended the first set on an 11-3 run, and took the opener 25-18. 

UCLA hit .500 in the second set and dominated from start to finish, 25-17.

Tyler Spriggs, after not recording a kill the first two sets, had seven kills in the third and the Wildcats dominated to get back in the match. UA won the third 25-16.

Arizona won the fourth set 25-21 to force a decisive fifth set.

The Wildcats opened the fifth hot, scoring the first three points before UCLA battled back to take the lead. The teams traded points until Arizona separated itself late, winning 15-12.

UP NEXT: After its sweep of southern California, Arizona turns its attention north as the Cats will visit Stanford and California next weekend.

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