TUCSON, AZ - Twenty-fourth-ranked Arizona volleyball outlasted No. 12 Oregon in five sets (25-23, 16-25, 25-23, 22-25, 16-14) on Friday night in a two-hour, forty-minute thriller in Eugene.
The victory marked Arizona’s first win over a ranked team this season and first since beating 16th-ranked Oregon last season (Nov. 12).
The Wildcats (13-2, 2-1 Pac-12) have now defeated Oregon while it’s been ranked in six straight seasons. The win was Arizona’s victory over its highest-ranked opponent since beating No. 9 UCLA on Nov. 4, 2016 and highest-ranked road victory since a win at No. 12 Stanford on Oct. 14, 2016.
The back-and-forth marathon featured high-level volleyball from the two top offenses in the Pac-12. Arizona had 69 kills on .240 hitting while Oregon posted 78 kills on .269 hitting. But on a night where Oregon (9-4, 2-1 Pac-12) may have had an advantage on the stat sheet, the Pac-12 kills leader was the difference for Arizona.
Senior outside hitter Kendra Dahlke led the Wildcats with 26 kills and just seven errors in the match. Dahlke moved into the UA career top 10 in kills (10th - 1,192) and on a night in which she took a career-high-tying 75 swings,
Junior setter Julia Patterson (58 assists, 12 digs) and sophomore outside hitter Paige Whipple (11 kills, 15 digs) also had double-doubles in the match.
Playing a new position on Friday night, sophomore Candice Denny had a career effort for the Wildcats. Moving from middle blocker to right side hitter, Denny had a career-high 13 kills on .344 hitting.
Sophomore middle blocker Shardonee Hayes led the Wildcats with five blocks, none bigger than her match-point stuff, along with Patterson, that gave the Wildcats the victory in the fifth set.
Arizona will face Oregon State on Sunday at noon in Corvallis, Oregon.