Against Stanford on Friday night, Arizona volleyball showed what it can do when everything clicks. Even in a straight-set loss, the Wildcats battled back and saw many positives. They followed that up with a performance against California that showed just how bad things can get. It was another sweep of the opponent (25-20, 25-19, 25-14), but this time there was no real positive.
“The truth is, they don’t believe in themselves,” the Arizona head coach, Rita Stubbs, said. “And you don’t believe in yourself; the coaches can’t do anything about it.”
Stubbs said they went to the locker room between sets, which is something he doesn’t do. His challenges to them did not have the desired effect.
“The truth is everything they asked for—and this is what I told them, and I have no problem saying everything now—everything they asked for, we fulfilled,” Stubbs said. “’We want to do it. I want to have fun—blah, blah, blah’—all these different things, and they have nothing in return.
Arizona didn’t serve much like this against Stanford, especially early in Friday night’s game. The Wildcats had 11 service errors to just three aces and didn’t put much pressure on Cal serve receiving.
The team is also less effective at receiving self-service. It didn’t help with the poor transmission situation, but there were struggles with the setting all the time. Stubbs used all three of his setters, but they all had issues.
Heath started but was replaced by backup setter Kasen Rosenthal in the second set. Each of them was called for a ball-handling error. In the third set, Ava Tortorello came in mostly as a defensive specialist this season, so it’s not a huge surprise that he had two ballhandling errors and no assists in seven attempts. It took Heath 63 attempts to get 23 assists.
Despite the first two sets looking respectable in terms of scoring, Cal was never threatened. Arizona got as close as one point late in the first set, but the Golden Bears were always able to regroup and push their lead to at least four points quickly.
Injured senior outside hitter Jaelyn Hodge played in the front row for the first time in two weeks. She finished with five kills on 100 hits.
For the second game in a row, Jordan Wilson was the only Wildcat with double-digit kills. She had 11 kills on 200-hitting but was hit hard in the first two sets.
Arizona fell to 6-17 overall and 1-11 in Pac-12 play. With eight games to go, the schedule still includes home matches against ranked rivals Oregon and Arizona State. The Sun Devils swept No. 3 Stanford on Sunday afternoon as the Ducks swept Washington.