Arizona opens season with Wildcat Classic
Aug. 26, 2008
This Week:The Arizona volleyball team (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10) opens the 2008 season hosting the Wildcat Classic Friday and Saturday, Aug. 29-30 in McKale Center. They will be accompanied Weber State, Gardner Webb and San Jose State in the classic. The WIildcats kick things off against Weber State and San Jose State on Friday at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. respectively. They will close out the classic with Gardner Webb on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.Complete classic schedule: Friday, Aug. 29 Arizona vs. Weber State 10 a.m. Gardner Webb vs. San Jose St. 12 p.m. Weber State vs. Gardner Webb 5 p.m. Arizona vs. San Jose St. 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 30 San Jose St. vs. Weber State 10 a.m. Arizona vs. Gardner Webb 12:30 p.m
A Quick Look at Arizona:Arizona returns five starters from last year's team that finished 14-7 and 4-14 in the Pac-10. They will also return the services of sophomore outside hitter and Tucson-native Whitney Dosty. The Wildcats also returns assist leader, sophomore, Paige Weber and classmate All-Pac-10 Freshman last season, Tiffany Owens. A trio of seniors, kills-leader Randy Goodenough, outside hitter Brooke Buringrud and libero Brittany Leonardshould provide good leadership for the Wildcats. The Arizona roster is made up ofthree seniors, two juniors, six sophomores and six freshman. With all that Arizona has returning, they will still have to make up for the loss of All-Pac-10 Middle Blocker Dominique Lamb, libero Katie Jackels and setter AmyDyck.
Red-Blue Scrimmage Recap:The Blue team beat the Red team 5-0 Saturday, Aug. 23 in the annual scrimmage at McKale Center. With players switching to both teams, the scores ended up 25-14, 25-21, 25-20, 25-18, and 16-14. Sophomore outside hitter Tiffany Owens led all Wildcats with 20 kills. With 16 kills, sophomore outside hitter Whitney Dosty made her return to McKale and showed he knee is healthy after missing all of 2007. Sophomore Paige Weber also stood out in the scrimmage. The setter led the squad with 67 assists and was 5-of-6 with a .833 hitting percentage. In the scrimmage the Wildcats not only debut six new players to the roster, but all unveiled their new blue curtain that surrounds McKale to make is a more quaint environment. Amy Webster, Tori Moore, Dana Hutchinson, Courtney Karst, Danielle Holloway and Kari Bardis all suited up for Arizona for the first time.
Scouting the Opposition:
Weber State- The other Wildcats are coming off a 16-13 record last season, finishing 11-5 in the Big Sky Conference. Weber State finished fourth in its league last season and was picked to finish third this season by the conferences coaches. Coming off their best record in 19 years, the Wildcats return eight players, including six starters from last season's team. Junior Micah Folsom was named First Team All-Conference and was the first player from Weber State to earn the distinction in five years.
San Jose State - The Spartans finished 2007 14-15 and advanced to their conference semifinals. San Jose State was picked by the WAC coaches to finish third in the league behind Hawaii and New Mexico State. Seniors Colleen Burke and Niki Clement lead the team into the 2008 season and both were named to the 12-person Preseason All-WAC team.
Gardner Webb- The Bulldogs are coming off a 14-win season and return three senior starts for last yea's team. Gardner Webb begins play in the Big South for the first season after moving over from the A-Sun while making the transition to Division-I. Seniors Audra Harrison, Jackie Mathison and Ashley Pridgeon return after leading the 2007 team to a school record 14 wins.
Weber State - Friday's season-opening match between Arizona and Weber State will be the third time the two schools have faced off. The Wildcats and Wildcats met in back-to-back seasons in 1977 and 1978, which were Arizona's first two years with volleyball. Arizona prevailed in both contests 3-0 in 1977 in Tucson and 3-0 in 1978 in Ogden, UT.
San Jose State - This will be the Wildcats and Spartans seventh meeting and the first since 2000 when Arizona beat San Jose State 3-0 in Stockton, Calif. In the all-time series, the Wildcats lead 3-1-2 with the two ties coming in 1978 and 1979, the schools first two meetings.
Gardner Webb - Saturday's matchup will be the first time that these two schools have met on the volleyball court. This will be the first of four games that Arizona plays against never-before faced opponents, the other three are Texas St., Chicago St. and Stephen F. Austin.
Season Openers:Since records began being kept of Arizona volleyball in 1977, the team is 23-8 in opening-season games and have won its last three. Under head coach Dave Rubio, the Wildcats are 12-4 to start the year. Last season the team beat Utah State 3-0 in Tucson to kickoff their 2007 campaign.
2008 career records to look for:Senior Brooke Buringrud is currently sixth on the career aces-per-game list at 0.27. The leader is Kiyomi Morino at 0.47.Senior Brittany Leonard holds the current record for digs-per-game at 3.19. Leonard is also 10th on the total digs list at 968. In her first three season, Leonard has averaged 322 digs and if she matches that total it will put her at 1,290, good for second on the all-time list behind leader Terry Lauchner at 1,297.
2007 in the record books:Sophomore Paige Weber collected 1330 saves last season which was the eighth highest assists total for a year. She also averaged 12.13 assists per game, which was good enough for seventh all-time.Junior Alanna Resch also put herself in the record books with 3.38 digs per game. That placed Resch fifth on the list and behind current senior Brittany Leonard's 2005 total of 3.70 and 2006 total of 3.84, which is tops in program history.
2007 award winners:Sophomore Tiffany Owens was named to the 2007 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team and former Wildcat Dominique Lamb was selected to the All-Pac-10 honorable mention.
Pac-10 Preseason Poll:Arizona was selected to finish seventh in the Pac-10 Conference in a preseason vote by the conference's head coaches. The Wildcats garnered 39 points in the vote, as defending champion Stanford was chosen as the favorite to win this year's Pac-10 volleyball title. Stanford claimed 90 points, 15 more than second-place UCLA, including nine of the 10 first-place votes. UCLA was the only other team to receive a first-palce vote. USC fell into third with 68 points and Cal was picked fourth with 62 points. Both schools made it to the Final Four last season. Washington came in fifth with 59 points, followed by Oregon in sixth with 51 points. Rounding out the poll were Arizona State, Oregon State, and Washington State, respectively.
Stacked Schedule:Arizona will be faced with the challenge of playing some of the best teams in the country in 2007. The Wildcats will participate in four non-conference tournaments before competing in the Pac-10 Conference. Arizona will face nine teams this season that participated in the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Matchups with Colorado State, Santa Clara and Texas State highlight a tough non-conference slate that will prepare the Wildcats for the ever difficult Pac-10 which features last season's national runner-up Stanford, two other Final Four teams in Cal and USC.
Rubio's Record:Head coach Dave Rubio boasts a 305-175 record in his 16 seasons at the helm of the Wildcat program. In 2005, he not only became the winningest coach in Arizona history, he also notched his 400th career victory in the team's win over Ohio in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. In 21 years as a head coach, Rubio has a 427-241 career record.