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Arizona outside hitter Sofia Maldonado Diaz leads Mexico to 2nd place at the Women’s U23 Pan-American Volleyball Cup

The Wildcat senior was the top scorer in the tournament and was honored as the top spiker

arizona-volleyball-falls-to-california-first-time-three-seasons-pac-12-stats-analysis-recap Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics

When Sofia Maldonado Diaz isn’t playing volleyball for the Arizona Wildcats, she’s often with the Mexican national team. This summer was no exception as the outside hitter led the U23 squad to a second-place finish at the Pan-American Volleyball Cup in Hermosillo, Mexico last week. Maldonado Diaz was the top scorer in the tournament, which ran from July 18-23, and was honored as the top spiker.

The tournament includes up to eight teams from NORCECA (North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation) and CSV (South American Volleyball Confederation). This year, the entrants were the defending champions from the Dominican Republic, the host team from Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Canada, and Honduras from NORCECA, and Argentina and Peru from CSV.

The Mexican side faced off against the Dominican team, which has won all four of the previous tournaments. Once again, the Dominican Republic was victorious, taking the championship match 3-1 (25-18, 23-25, 25-12, 26-24).

It was a successful tournament for Maldonado Diaz and her team, though. She was the top scorer in the final with 21 points. She was also the top scorer for the tournament with 76 kills, six total blocks, and five aces in 18 sets. Mexico finished with a 4-1 record in the tournament on its way to the silver medal.

Maldonado Diaz was the 2020 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year during the season that was delayed until spring 2021. She led the Wildcats in kills (272) and aces (28) that season. Her 3.63 kills per set led the team by over one kill per set and her 4.21 points per set led the Wildcats by 1.33. She was fifth in both digs (106) and blocks (27).

As a sophomore, she again led the team in aces (40) and was second in total kills (353). She tied for fourth in assists (22) and was fourth in digs (192).

Last season, Maldonado Diaz led in total kills (372) and aces (46). She also led the team in kills (3.18) and points (3.88) per set. She was third in digs (185) and fourth in blocks (68).

Arizona will kick off its first season under head coach Rita Stubbs with the annual Red-Blue game on Saturday, Aug. 19. The Wildcats have their first regular season matches during the Cactus Classic the following weekend. They play UC Davis and North Carolina on Friday, Aug. 25 followed by Pacific on Saturday, Aug. 26.