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Arizona volleyball cannot stop Skylar Fields in loss to USC

The Wildcats’ losing streak stretches to eight matches

Arizona volleyball prepares for a match against USC at the Galen Center on Nov. 3, 2023
Arizona volleyball prepares for a match against USC at the Galen Center on Nov. 3, 2023
Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics

Arizona’s current losing streak started with a five-set loss to Southern California on Oct. 8 in McKale Center. Almost a month later, the Women of Troy defeated the Wildcats yet again to extend that streak to eight matches in a row. This time it took just three sets as USC swept UA by the score of 25-16, 25-18, 25-20. Skylar Fields was the reason.

Fields was unstoppable. She had 24 kills and hit .512 for the match, almost singlehandedly carrying her team to victory. No one else on USC had more than six kills and all but Fields and Mia Tuiniga hit .059 or lower.

The descent started relatively early for Arizona. From 8-8 in the first set, the Women of Troy went on a 9-2 run and never looked back. After dropping the opening frame, UA took a 1-0 lead in the second. It was the last time USC trailed in that set.

The third set was the most competitive as the Wildcats went up 12-7. From there, the Women of Troy chipped away until the set was tied at 15. They never trailed again.

Sofia Maldonado Diaz and Jordan Wilson tried to keep the ship afloat. Maldonado Diaz had five kills and hit .400 in the first set. She ended the match as the only Wildcat with double-digit kills, but her 12 kills were half of what Fields produced.

Wilson had three total blocks, matching her season high in just the opening set. She pushed that season high to four by the end of the match. She added five kills but had a .000 hitting percentage.

As a team, Arizona hit .103 and had just nine kills in the first set. The Wildcats matched that kill total in the third set. They only reached double-digit kills (11) in the second set and ended the match with a .122 hitting percentage.

While the Women of Troy didn’t hit particularly well in the first two sets, they were able to find the floor significantly more often than the Wildcats did. USC had double-digit kills in all three sets as Fields imposed her will.

In addition to Fields’ arm, USC also won the serving game. The Women of Troy aced the Wildcats six times while only committing two service errors. On the other side of the net, UA had nine service errors against just four aces.

The Wildcats’ bright spot was at the net. The team had 10 total blocks compared to seven for USC. The visitors from Tucson were led by middle blocker Alayna Johnson with five total blocks.

Maldonado Diaz and Wilson also had strong blocking games with each getting a solo block to go with multiple block assists. Wilson’s four total blocks were second only to Johnson. Maldonado Diaz had three to match middle blocker Nicole Briggs.

Arizona falls to 6-18 on the year and 1-12 in Pac-12 play. It has not won a set since the fourth frame of a five-set loss at Utah on Oct. 22.

The Wildcats’ only conference win came at home against UCLA two days before their first loss to USC. They get a chance to sweep the Bruins on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m.