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AAMU Bulldogs fall in NCAA Volleyball First Round

November 30, 2000

 

Tucson, Ariz. (Nov. 30) -The Alabama A&M volleyball team ended its 2000 season tonight losing 3-0 to the Wildcats of Arizona in the first round of the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Tournament held at McKale Center on the campus of UA.

A&M lost the first round matchup before 1,492 screaming volleyball fans as the scores read 15-1, 15-3, 15-3. Alabama A&M drops to 31-3 while Arizona increases to 26-4.

The Bulldogs were upbeat and optimistic regarding next season after their loss.

"We have only been Division I for two years," said head coach Betty Austin. "It will take us a while to get to the level we want to be and need to be to provide solid competition to teams in this tournament. But we had an incredible season and this loss doesn't take away from that."

The Bulldogs were little match for the Wildcats as the team posted a season low minus-.125 hitting percentage. A&M, unable to establish its rhythm as Arizona took the passing game away and capitalized on its height advantage, was held to less than nine kills per game.

"We didn't do what we needed to do," said outside hitter Feah Williams. "Arizona was a stronger team. And while athlete to athlete we believe there's no difference, there was a very real difference between our two teams. But we learned. And we will be better next year for it."

The much anticipated match-up of senior middle blockers De'Anna Hines of A&M and Marisa DaLee of UA fizzled as Hines was unable to overcome the sheer height advantage of the Wildcats, over-swinging and hitting into the blocks. The 5-10 Hines finished the game with only five kills and a minus-.111 hitting percentage -her low of the season. The 6-3 DaLee posted a game high .588 hitting percentage, slamming 11 kills with only one error in 17 attacks.

"At this level, size matters," said Austin. "Arizona has players at 6-2 and 6-3 for a reason. The size advantage, height advantage and arm length become major factors in a game. They took our passing from us and dominated front court play."

The Bulldogs return to Huntsville tomorrow morning and classes on Monday as the school head's into fall semester finals. The Wildcats advance to second round play and take on the Michigan Wolverines (19-13) tomorrow night at 7 p.m. in the McKale Center.

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