Second-ranked Texas survived a tough test from No. 16 Arizona, winning in five sets (22-25, 25-16, 27-25, 20-25, 15-6) Friday night at the Arizona Classic in Tuscon, Arizona.
Texas (9-1) has won five straight and holds a 3-1 record against ranked opponents this season. Texas had been pushed to five sets only once this season, a 3-2 win over fourth-ranked Nebraska.
Texas seniors Amy Neal Texas and Molly McCage had career highs in kills, with Neal posting 24 and McCage notching 14. McCage hit .333 and had four blocks. UT’s Paulina Prieto Cerame added 13 kills and Chiaka Ogbogu slapped 10 kills with seven blocks.
Kalei Mau led the Wildcats with 22 kills but hit .095 for the match with 15 attack errors. Mau has recorded 20-plus kills in three straight matches.
Texas had a season-high 65 kills, outhitting the Wildcats, .202 to .115.
Cat McCoy anchored the Texas defense with a career-high 29 digs and freshman Morgan Johnson led the team with eight blocks.
Arizona went up 4-1 in the first set and held the lead until Texas managed to tie it at 14-14. The Wildcats took the lead at 15-14 and stayed ahead the rest of the set.
Texas started the second set on a 9-2 run and pushed the lead to 20-10. Texas held the Wildcats to a .029 hitting percentage in the second set and won it 25-16.
Texas was poised to take the third set at 24-23 but an error by Neal tied it. A kill by Prieto Cerame gave Texas a 25-24 lead, but a kill by Halli Amaro knotted the match. Cerame slapped back-to-back kills off assists by Chloe Collins to win the set 27-25. Collins had a career-high 63 assists.
Arizona built a 7-3 to start the fourth set, but Texas rallied to even the score at 14-14. The Wildcats were able to hold off the Texas attack and push the match to a fifth set.
The Wildcats benefited from two attack errors by Texas to go up 2-0 in the fifth set. Texas responded with eight straight points to go up 8-2 and outscored the Wildcats 7-4 to close the set.
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