Arizona volleyball team opens with split in the Pacific

By Monty Phan

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Based on the first game of the Arizona volleyball team's first match of the season, one could have said that the Wildcats looked very, very promising. But you can't judge a season, or a match, for that matter, by one game.

Despite winning the first game against No. 7 Pacific Friday night, 15-3, the No. 14 Wildcats could not pull off the upset, dropping the last three games and losing, 15-3, 13-15, 12-15, 8-15.

After trailing the second game 8-1, the Tigers regrouped and simply outplayed Arizona the rest of the way, before 1,728 fans at the Pacific Tournament in Stockton, Calif.

Salvaged in the loss were some very good individual Wildcat performances. Outside hitter Melissa Ferris led the team with 19 kills, and the senior also added seven digs; sophomore outside hitter Barb Bell had 18 kills and 11 digs; and senior middle blocker Charita Johnson contributed 14 kills and eight digs.

But Pacific spread it out and played better as a team, the only standouts being Charlotte Johansson (15 kills) and D. Benton-Bozman (14). The Tigers dominated Arizona at the net down the stretch, outblocking the Wildcats 12-4.

Whatever frustration the UA had left on Saturday was taken out on San Jose State Sunday Arizona swept the Spartans, 15-12, 15-9, 15-13. Ferris again led the Wildcats with 16 kills. Bell had 15 digs, but this time the numbers were more evenly distributed, and the Wildcats played like the team they seem to be capable of being.

After recording just four block assists against Pacific, the Wildcats combined for 26 against San Jose State. Sophomore middle blocker Tamika Dennis led with seven block assists, and Johnson added six.

Both teams saw their records evened at 1-1 for the season.

Next weekend, Arizona will travel to San Diego, Calif., for the ASICS Grand Prix, hosted by San Diego State. They will face Cal State-Northridge Friday.

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