No. 25 Arizona hosts rival ASU
Sept. 30, 2008
The Arizona volleyball team (11-2, 1-1 Pac-10) plays its first mid-week contest of the season when it hosts in-state rival Arizona State in McKale Center Wednesday. The Wildcats and Sun Devils play at 7:00 p.m. with both team’s looking to run their conference records to 2-1 and take an early lead in the standings. Arizona will then pickup a non-conference match with No. 12 Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo. Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
Scouting the Opposition:
Arizona State- The Sun Devils enter Wednesday’s contest with the same results as the Wildcats from last weekend. ASU lost to No. 9 Washington in five sets and swept Washington State 3-0. Led by sophomore Sarah Reaves, who paces the conference with 4.41 kills per set, the Sun Devils finished their non-conference slate 9-4. Arizona State is near the bottom in most statistical categories, but are second in the league in digs with 15.14 per set.
Arizona State – The Wildcats have played the Sun Devils more than any other school in the nation with 72 matches played between the two schools. Arizona State holds a 37-35 edge in the series and the Sun Devils won both contest in 2007, extending a current four-match win streak.
The Wildcats split with the Washington schools to open Pac-10 Conference play last weekend, toping Washington State 3-0 and falling to then No. 9 Washington 3-2. Arizona has lost nine straight to the Huskies and have beaten the Cougars in four straight. The next meeting between the schools comes November 28th and 29th when the Wildcats travel to Seattle and Pullman, Wash.
Arizona vs. No. 9 Washington – Arizona gave Washington all it could handle, but fell to the Huskies in five sets, 3-2. The Wildcats committed four early errors in the decisive set and could not overcome UW. Sophomore Whitney Dosty led Arizona with 16 kills and the team committed 27 attack errors and 11 service errors in their second loss of the season. The scores finished 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 26-28, and 15-8.
Arizona vs. Washington State – Arizona opened Pac-10 play with a 3-0 swept of the visiting Cougars. The Wildcats out hit Washington State .252 to .189. Dosty had a season-high 17 kills in the win. The Wildcats and Cougars battled back and forth in the matches first set, but Arizona pulled it out 25-23 and went on to win the next two 25-20 and 25-19.
Block party – The 2008 Wildcats have been a team known for their blocks. Arizona leads the Pac-10 in blocks-per-set with 2.83. The Wildcats recorded 13 team blocks in the 3-2 loss to Washington and eight team blocks in the 3-0 win over Washington State. Sophomore Stephanie Snow is currently sixth in the league in blocks with 1.21 per set. Arizona is ninth in the nation in blocks (2.83 per set)
Cover Paige –The sophomore setter has picked up where she left off in 2007. She leads the team in assists with 471 in 13 matches. That is good enough for fifth in the Pac 10 in assists per set. Weber is also third in the league in aces per serve at 0.40. Weber has won two tournament MVP awards this season, one in the opening Wildcat Classic and one in the CSU Bakersfield Invitational.
Dosty’s getting there – After missing all of 2007 with a knee injury, sophomore outside hitter Whitney Dosty seems to be getting better every match. The Tucson native leads the team with 144 kills and has been the team leader in kills in five of the team’s 13 matches, including three out of the last four.
Digging towards the top – Senior Brittany Leonard recorded her 1,000 career dig in the team’s 3-2 win over UC Riverside. The libero continues her climb up the career digs list. The Menlo Park, Calif. resident is ninth on the career list. Leonard is still a little under 300 digs from the career leader Terry Lauchner who has 1,297, while Leonard sits at 1,011.
Owens-Owens – Sophomore outside hitter Tiffany Owens is the only Wildcat with any double-doubles this season. She has four and sits second on the team in kills and digs.
Arizona’s place – The Wildcats sit first in the conference in opponents hitting percentage (.122), fifth in hitting percentage (.265) and third in service aces (1.62 per set). Nationally the team is 9th in blocks per set, 55th in aces per set and 23rd in hitting percentage.
‘Cats in the poll – Arizona showed up in the AVCA Top-25 for the first time in 2008. The No. 25 Wildcats broke the top-25 for the first time since Sept. 11, 2006 when they were No. 24.
Pac-10 in the Top-25 – After opening the season with six teams in the top-11, the Pac-10 now has seven teams in the top-25, six of which are in the top-11. USC is out front at fourth, UCLA fifth, Stanford sixth, Cal eighth, Washington ninth and Oregon 11th. Arizona broke the top-25 at No. 25 and Oregon came in 29th with 37 points in the Others Receiving Votes category.
2008 award winners - Throughout the season, a handful of Wildcats have been awarded tournament honors. Three players were named to the CSUB All-Tournament Team. Paige Weber brought home tournament MVP, while Jacy Norton and Whitney Dosty were named to the all-tournament team. Ttwo Wildcats were named to the Arizona Invitational All-Tournament Team, Stephanie Snow and Tiffany Owens. The week before Paige Weber was named Wildcat Classic MVP, Alanna Resch was named Wildcat Classic Most Outstanding Libero and Tiffany was named to the Wildcat Classic All-Tournament Team, her first or two awards in as many weeks.
13-set win streak - Arizona started the season winning the first 13 sets it played in before losing its first set and match to Santa Clara on 9/5/08. The last time the Wildcats began the season on a similar streak was 2005 when they won their first 12 sets. 2005 was also the last time Arizona was in the postseason. Arizona record for starting the season with the most consecutive set wins was 2001 when they won their first 17 sets before dropping a set to Oregon to open Pac-10 play.
Since records began being kept of Arizona volleyball in 1977, the team is 24-8 in opening-season games and have won its last four including this season’s 3-0 win over Weber State. Under head coach Dave Rubio, the Wildcats are 13-4 to start the year.
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.
Head coach Dave Rubio boasts a 313-177 record in his 17 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 435-243 career record.