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Cats take first win from Cardinal since 2002

Claire C. Laurence/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Senior outside hitter Jennifer Abernathy tries to put a touch on a ball during No. 12 Arizona's upset of No. 3 Stanford last night in McKale Center. The Wildcats won in five games, defeating the Cardinal for the first time since 2002.
By Lindsey Frazier
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 14, 2005
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The parallels were evident between the No. 12 Arizona volleyball team's 30-24, 26-30, 29-31, 34-32, 15-8 upset over No. 3 Stanford in McKale Center last night and the Wildcats' victory over the Cardinal on Oct. 11, 2002.

Both times, the matches were played to five games and on the Wildcats' home court.

Three years ago, however, Arizona had the support of a Midnight Madness crowd of 9,141, which broke a school and Pacific 10 Conference attendance record.

The Wildcats (13-2, 5-1 Pacific 10 Conference) hope for a similar turnout tonight when they face No. 13 California at 7. The match will be followed by McKale Madness at 9 p.m.

"It certainly has to be one of the better and more gratifying wins that we've had in several years, maybe since the last time that we played Stanford here," said Arizona head coach Dave Rubio of the Wildcats' victory over the Cardinal. "Especially for the seniors, it's been a road of ups and downs.

Arizona out-hit Stanford .274 to .232 and out-blocked the Cardinal 16 to 5.

"More than anything, I'm proud of how we battled, because we didn't play particularly well throughout the entire match," he said. "We played well at times. But we fought and we grinded, and we found a way to get the job down, and that's a good building block for us."

Senior outside hitter Bre Ladd made nine kills, five blocks and three service aces, while freshman middle blocker Dominique Lamb had seven kills and five blocks.

Sophomore setter Amy Dyck recorded a career-high 69 assists.

"My hat's off to Amy," Rubio said. "I have to really compliment her because she did a terrific job out there for the amount of experience she's had, especially in big-time matches."

Senior outside hitter Kim Glass, who paced the Arizona attack with 27 kills, 13 digs and four blocks for her ninth double-double of the year, said it was the Wildcats' attitude that gave them an extra edge over the Cardinal.

"I didn't think it was that hard to win that game honestly," she said. "I think our hearts were there more than Stanford's were. I think they came into the gym and they didn't really respect us. We had to battle gamewise, but as far as our hearts, we had it more."

Arizona jumped out to an early 8-4 lead in the final game before the teams alternated sides of the net.

A Glass kill forced a Stanford timeout with the score at 10-4, and junior middle blocker Kristina Baum notched the final kill to win the game and the match.

Baum finished the night with a career-high 17 kills and 13 digs.

"All I think about is just being consistent for my team and just building on that," she said. "It's a great win, but we play tomorrow."

After trailing the Cardinal throughout the early part of the fourth game, a service ace by senior outside hitter Jennifer Abernathy evened the score at 24.

The two teams traded points for the rest of game, which included four tie scores and four game-point opportunities before the Wildcats nailed down the win.

"I try not to really focus on the score when it's that close," said Abernathy, who recorded a team-high 18 digs in addition to 18 kills and five blocks. "You know that it's close, and you have to do what you do to execute. If you just focus on (playing), it makes it so much easier."

Arizona fell behind by as many as seven points in the third game, 23-16, but the Wildcats rallied back to knot the game at 29. Still, the Cardinal collected two points to pull out the victory.

The second game was closely contested, with neither team leading by more than five points. Arizona trailed by only a point before Stanford scored four consecutive times to win the game.

In the first game, Arizona never trailed and led by as many as eight points, 28-20. Stanford scored four unanswered points before the Wildcats closed out the game.

The Golden Bears (13-3, 6-1) swept ASU, 30-21, 30-20, 30-27, last night in Tempe.

After bringing down Stanford in 2002, the Wildcats were upset by unranked California the next night. Rubio said his team is cautious not to let that happen again.

"We were just so emotionally charged for the one game that it was tough for us to recover the next night," Rubio said. "I don't think that's going to be a problem with this group because history has taught us that lesson."

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