Last time Arizona volleyball faced UCLA it ended a four-game losing streak. The Wildcats haven’t won a match since that time. After dropping a straight-set match (25-23, 25-22, 25-20) to the Bruins on Sunday afternoon, UA is now on a nine-game losing streak and stands at 1-13 in Pac-12 play.
As has been the case all season, the Wildcats were inconsistent. They started the match handling serve receive fairly well. That part of the game has been their Achilles heel all season,
UCLA repeatedly closed the gap to one or two points. The Bruins finally tied it up at 22 points each. Arizona pushed back ahead at 23-22, but it was the last lead by the visiting team.
Not only was it a disappointing outcome for the Wildcats in the moment but the loss had bigger implications. Arizona went into the match 0-17 when dropping the first set. They’re now 0-18.
Aspects of the match demonstrated the Wildcats’ potential for next season, though. Sophomore pin Jordan Wilson had 13 kills on .550 hitting. The outside hitter has double-digit kills in four of her last five matches. That brings her season total to 13 matches with double-digit kills. Nine of those have come since Pac-12 play started.
Wilson’s .550 hitting percentage was her best in conference play and her second-best of the season; she hit .568 against Pacific the first weekend of the season. She has hit .250 or better in five of her last nine matches. In three of her last five matches, she has hit .381 or higher.
Wilson was also strong on the block. She tied her season high with four total blocks in her second straight match.
With Wilson expected to take on a bigger role over the next two years, her improvement during the toughest part of the season is promising for the Wildcats.
Freshman Sydnie Vanek is also part of that extended future. With the physical limitations placed on Jaelyn Hodge, Vanek has seen her playing time increase in the last several weeks. She had the most efficient outing of her career on Sunday with three kills on three kills on .400 hitting. It was the first time Vanek had hit over .200 since landing in Tucson.
Hodge had the most productive night on offense since her play has been limited due to injury. The increased number of swings was accompanied by a drop in efficiency.
Hodge hit .500 against Stanford. It was her first game attacking after filling a defensive specialist role at Colorado and Utah, but she only attacked from the back row. This weekend, she returned to front-row attacking and saw her hitting percentages plummet. Hodge hit just .182 at USC and .167 at UCLA.
Arizona returns home for an extended homestand. The Wildcats will play four straight games in McKale Center before going to Washington for their only match against the Huskies. They then return to Tucson to play their final game against ASU.