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Arizona volleyball squanders early lead, falls in four sets to No. 11 Washington

Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

Arizona volleyball smelled blood late in the second set of its Friday evening home match against No. 11 Washington.

Leading 21-17 and four points away from a commanding 2-0 set advantage, Arizona appeared in prime position to snap its 11-year, 19-match losing streak to the Huskies.

Four consecutive UW points later, the set was back to even and the momentum had tilted to the purple and gold.

The Huskies went on to win the second and the match, topping Arizona 3-1 (24-26, 25-23, 25-19, 25-23). The loss drops the Wildcats to 11-5 and 3-2 in Pac-12 play.

Sofi Maldonado Diaz led Arizona with 16 kills, while Puk Stubbe added 13. The Wildcats recorded a .160 hit percentage for the match.

UA entered Friday a perfect 7-0 at McKale Center having not lost a single set at home.

The Wildcats overcame a 10-2 deficit in the opening set Friday to keep the perfect set streak alive a little longer. UA and UW were tied at 24-24 when the Wildcats scored two points to win the opener, including a clinch kill by Stubbe.

Arizona rode that momentum well into the second until the Huskies came alive, scoring eight of the set’s final 10 points to tie the match.

UW jumped out to a 10-4 advantage in the third and put the clamps on in the latter half of the set.

In the fourth, Arizona went on an 8-0 run to earn a 14-10 lead, but the Huskies responded behind the play of their three All-Americans, Ella May Powell, Samantha Drechsel and Claire Hoffman.

With the set tied at 22-22, UW scored three straight points to clinch the set and match.

Arizona will look to rebound when it hosts Washington State Sunday at 12 p.m. MST.