Arizona Volleyball: Cats take lead in Territorial Cup race with Volleyball Victory

Tough battles are a hallmark of the Pac-12 and Arizona Volleyball as the Wildcats downed in-state rival Arizona State in five sets by a 3-2 final.

You know, they say it doesn’t always have to be pretty to work, and well that just about sums up what the typical Arizona Volleyball v.s. Arizona State game is like, and Thursday’s was no different, as the Wildcats came out on top.

Tough battles are a hallmark of Pac-12 Volleyball, and they tend to be even tougher when the matches involve rivals, but at the end of the day Thursday evening turned up Wildcats as they beat Arizona State 3-2 (23-25, 26-16, 25-17, 21-25, 15-9) in front of a crowd of 2,366 in Tempe.

Jaelyn Hodge paced the Arizona attack with 15 kills, while freshman phenom Puk Stubbe continued her torrid form by chipping in with another 10 kills for the Wildcats. Emery Herman also continues to look all the part of the Pac-12’s best with 38 assists and added with six kills of her own.

Match Notes:

  • In their third set win in which Arizona took it 25-17, the Wildcats hit -.04 on the match but was still able to capitalize with four blocks and four aces, while also limiting their errors.
  • The Middle Blockers were a force for the Wildcats as Merle Weidt had 8 blocks, while Zyonna Fellows chipped in another seven blocks.
  • The Wildcats more easily dispatched Arizona State in the fifth set behind an errorless attacking performance, hitting .478 for the set.

Early returns show Pac-12 Freshman of the Year looks destined to remain in Tucson with Puk Stubbe looking all the part of a seasoned veteran

It was a very interesting signing that came incredibly late in the 2021 recruiting cycle, but the signing of Stubbe by Coach Dave Rubio might very well be the signing that sends the Wildcats back to the NCAA Tournament.

The one question mark that I had as the Wildcats were ending their summer break and preparing for preseason, was about the right-side attack. Dilara Gedikoglu looked like a good option but seemed quite a bit more comfortable on the outside.

So does someone like a Simone Overbeck take her next big step to get her big break on the court for the ‘Cats, or would they look at one of their known (at the time) incoming recruits to fill the void?

Enter Stubbe, who came from a very strong beach background that has turned into the perfect fit along the right side. Though late coming aboard, Stubbe’s signing shows just how impactful and different relationships are in NCAA Volleyball compared to other NCAA sports, as an assist from former Oregon State assistant Ron Zwerver gave Rubio the right-side attacker he needed.

Now more comfortable in America, and with her teammates on the Wildcats, Stubbe has not hit under .333 in a match in her past four matches, including 10 kills on a .429 hitting percentage against the Sun Devils Thursday night.

She looks primed to take the Freshman of the Year award for the second straight year for the Wildcats, and she will help Arizona the rest of the season. As always, Bear Down, Arizona!