Penina Snuka is supposed to be the prize recruit of head coach Dave Rubio’s freshman class.
Apparently the PA announcer at McKale Center didn’t get the memo — when the starting lineups were announced, he read her name as Penina “Snookie,” not Snuka.
But, after the Wildcats’ dominant 25-8, 25-6, 25-13 season-opening win at the Arizona Invitational, Morgan State knew who she was.
Snuka registered a double-double — 28 assists, 10 digs — to lead Arizona in her freshman debut.
Fellow newcomer Jane Croson, a junior transfer from Hawaii, led the UA with 10 kills.
“They mesh really well with our team, which I think is great,” said junior outside hitter Madi Kingdon, who had nine kills and 10 digs. “The team chemistry is needed; they fit right in, and it’s a really good addition to our team.”
Rubio added: “They’re terrific kids, and they really added the pieces that we were lacking. We were missing some of the ingredients that they bring to our team, and it’s nice to be able to have those two people, who really do add so much.”
Today, Rubio will find out what Croson and Snuka can do for a follow-up. At 10:30 a.m., the Wildcats will face Central Arkansas, which upset No. 20 Kansas 3-1 on Friday. Arizona’s match with the Jayhawks will come at 7 p.m.
Last year, the Wildcats fell to Cal State-Northridge in their second match of the season. In retrospect, Rubio said, Arizona might have ultimately made the NCAA tournament had they won.
“We were right on the bubble,” he said, “which I knew, and I always felt like if we would beat Northridge or Pepperdine or TCU we would’ve been in. Every match is important in terms of selection process, even this early in the season.”
Soccer team now 3-0
The UA women’s soccer team beat UC Riverside 6-0 Friday to win its home opener and improve to 3-0.
Mykaylin Rosenquist gave UA a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute, assisted by Alexandra Doller, who later had her third goal of the year.