Arizona Volleyball

Arizona’s Sofia Maldonado Diaz Pac-12 Freshman of the Year

Information provided by Arizona’s media relations department:

Arizona freshman outside hitter Sofia Maldonado Diaz has been named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, the conference announced Tuesday. Maldonado Diaz is the first Wildcat to win the award since Kim Glass in 2002.

The freshman was also named to the all-conference team as well as the all-freshman team. She is also the first Arizona freshman to be named all-Pac-12 since Glass in 2002. Junior middle blocker Merle Weidt was named all-Pac-12 honorable mention.

Maldonado Diaz finished the regular season as the top freshman in the Pac-12 in both kills/set (3.63) and aces/set (0.37). Her 272 total kills ranked fourth most in the Pac-12 and her 28 aces were tied for most in the Pac-12.

The Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico native posted double-digit kills in 16 of 21 matches — including a pair of 20-plus-kill outings — and led Arizona in kills in 15 of the last 19 matches. In her fourth career match, Maldonado Diaz had 25 kills on .439 hitting, the most kills by an Arizona freshman since Nov. 7, 2007, and the first 25-kill, .400 hitting match by any Wildcat since Oct. 8, 2010.

Maldonado Diaz was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week three times, setting the school record for weekly conference awards earned in a single season. She picked up her first honor in Week 3 after averaging 5.00 kills on .356 hitting in two matches against Washington. In Week 6, she picked up her second award when she averaged 5.71 kills/set in Arizona’s sweep of Oregon State. She earned her third weekly selection when she averaged 1.33 aces and a team-most 2.83 kills/set in Arizona’s road sweep of California.

Maldonado Diaz became the first Wildcat freshman since Glass in 2002 to average more than 3.5 kills/set. Her 3.63 kills/set rank third in Arizona history behind Glass (4.96 – 2002) and Barb Bell (3.79 – 1993). Despite playing a shortened season, Maldonado Diaz posted 272 total kills over 21 matches, tied for 10th most by a freshman in program history.

In addition to her team-best 3.63 kills/set and 0.37 aces/set, Maldonado Diaz was also an asset on the defensive end, averaging 1.41 digs and 0.36 blocks per set.

Maldonado Diaz joins elite territory in Arizona volleyball history, becoming the fifth player to win a conference yearly award and first since Penina Snuka was the Pac-12 Setter of the Year and Laura Larson was the Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2016. She is Arizona’s second Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, joining Glass in 2002.

Weidt was named honorable mention all-Pac-12 after her strong debut season with the Wildcats. The junior entered the starting lineup in the final 11 matches of the season and immediately became one of David Rubio’s best players on the court. Weidt averaged 1.60 kills and 0.81 blocks per set on a team-best .424 hitting. She came just five total attacks shy of qualifying for Pac-12 statistics, but her .424 hitting percentage would have led the conference had she averaged three attacks per game (she averaged 2.90).

Pac-12 Player of the Year: Dani Drews, Utah

Pac-12 Freshman of the Year: Sofia Maldonado Diaz, Arizona

Pac-12 Setter of the Year: Ella May Powell, Washington 

Pac-12 Libero of the Year: Zoe Fleck, UCLA 

Pac-12 Coach of the Year: Keegan Cook, Washington

All-Pac-12 Team
Caitie Baird, Stanford
Brooke Botkin, USC
Samantha Drechsel, Washington
Dani Drews, Utah
Zoe Fleck, UCLA
Claire Hoffman, Washington
Magda Jehlarova, Washington State
Kenzie Koerber, Utah
Sofia Maldonado Diaz, Arizona
Grace Massey, Oregon State
Mac May, UCLA
Ella May Powell, Washinton
Élan McCall, UCLA
Gloria Mutiri, Oregon
Iman Ndiaye, UCLA
Brooke Nuneviller, Oregon
Hannah Pukis, Washington State
Pia Timmer, Washington State
Honorable Mention
Rachael Fara, Colorado 
Lauren Sanders, Washington  
Marin Grote, Washington 
Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres, Utah 
Karson Bacon, Oregon 
Leah Clayton, Colorado 
Meegan Hart, Colorado 
Georgia Murphy, Oregon 
Iman Isanovic, Arizona State 
Sterling Parker, Colorado 
Aleksandra Gryka, USC
Madelyn Robinson, Utah 
Emily Ryan, UCLA 
Elena Oglivie, Stanford 
Merle Weidt, Arizona

All-Freshman Team
Sofia Maldonado Diaz, Arizona
Madi Endsley, Washington
Iman Ndiaye, UCLA
Caitie Baird, Stanford
Marta Levinska, Arizona State
Julianna Dalton, Washington State
Lydia Grote, California

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