Arizona finishes regular season

Nov. 26, 2008

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This Week: The Arizona volleyball team (16-12 6-10 Pac-10) heads out to the state of Washington for its final two matches of the 2008 regular season. The Wildcats take on Washington (22-4, 13-3) Friday at 8 p.m. local time at Bank of America Arena in the team’s second match of the season. They then travel across the state to face Washington State (8-19, 1-15) Saturday at the same time in Bohler Gym.

Scouting the Opposition:
Washington- The No. 5 Huskies sit in second place in the conference, two games behind leader Stanford and a game up on California.  Washington is coming off a 3-1 win over rival Washington State and has won their last six matches and 11 out of their last 12. UW is second in the conference in hitting percentage (.300), second in service aces (1.27 per set), third in assists (13.45 per set) and fourth in kills (14.45 per set). The Huskies are led by senior middle blocker Jessica Swarbrick, who is second in the league in hitting percentage (.428) and fourth in blocks (1.10 per set).
Washington State- The Cougars are currently last in the Pac-10, two games behind ninth place Oregon State. WSU is coming off a 3-1 loss to rival Washington last weekend. Washington State is also last in every major statistical category except digs where they are fifth, averaging 14.35 per set. Junior Kelly Hyder leads the Cougars, averaging 3.95 digs per set, which is good enough for ninth in the conference.

Series History:
Washington – The Wildcats are exactly even with Washington in the all-time series 24-24. The two first met in 1980 and the Huskies have won the last nine meetings, dating all the way back to 2003. That run is the longest current streak for any Wildcat, Pac-10 opponent.
Washington State –Arizona leads the all-time series 54-12. The 54 Wildcat wins are the most for the team against any opponent in history. Arizona has won the last four meetings dating back to 2006.

Last Head-to-Head:
Washington - September 26, 2008 in Tucson, Ariz.– The Wildcats pushed the then No. 9 Huskies to five sets, but couldn’t pull the upset. In the match that went back and fourth, UW used a late surge and beat host Arizona, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 26-28, 15-11. Arizona sophomore Whitney Dosty led the Wildcats with 16 kills, classmate Paige Weber added 44 assists and junior Alanna Resch added a season-high 23 digs in the loss.
Washington State - September 27, 2008 in Tucson, Ariz. – Arizona opened its Pac-10 season with a sweep over the visiting Cougars. The Wildcats got their first conference win 25-23, 25-20, 25-19. Sophomore Whitney Dosty led the way with 17 kills, while classmate Tiffany Owens added 12 in the win.

Last Weekend:
Oregon State @ Arizona : The Wildcats pulled their first weekend two-game conference sweep since 2006 with a 3-0 win over the visiting Beavers. Arizona prevailed 25-21, 25-17, 25-18. With the win, the Wildcats ensured themselves to finish above .500 and made them eligible for postseason. Sophomore Tiffany Owens recorded her eight double-double of the year in the Senior Day win. This was the Wildcats final home match of 2008 and final home match ever for senior Brooke Buringrud, Randy Goodenough and Brittany Leonard.
No. 8 Oregon @ Arizona:  Arizona raked in its third upset over a top-12 team with a 3-1 win over the then No. 8 Ducks. The Wildcats shrugged off a loss in game one to get the win 18-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-12. Tiffany Owens led the way with 22 kills and a .383 hitting percentage. Sophomore Stephanie Snow also played a huge role with 11 kills and a .733 hitting percentage.

Now it’s up to the Committee – With the two wins over the Oregon schools, the Wildcats are assured to finish the season above .500, which makes them eligible for postseason play. Arizona hasn’t finished with more wins than losses since 2005 when they ended the season a couple points from the Final Four.

Weekend Sweep – For the first time since 2006, Arizona won a pair of weekend matches in the conference. Prior to last weekend’s wins over Oregon and Oregon State, the Wildcats hadn’t won back-to-back conference games since November of 2006, which like last weekend, was Senior Weekend.

Player of the Week – Sophomore outside hitter Tiffany Owens was named Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week and Pac-10 Player of the week for her efforts against the Oregon schools. On the weekend, she recorded 35 kills on a .400 hitting percentage and registered 25 digs and three blocks. Owens was the first Wildcat to take home the weekly award since Kim Glass in 2005 and she’s the 26th Arizona player to win the award in school history.

Senior Weekend – Arizona seniors Brooke Buringrud, Randy Goodenough and Brittany Leonard played their final matches at McKale Center last weekend. The three are the last remaining from Arizona’s 2005 Elite Eight team and have combined for more than 62 wins in their four years.

1,000 and counting – Sophomore setter Paige Weber recorded her 1,000 assists of the season in the team’s win over Oregon State. Weber is currently at 1,008 on the year  and that gives her 2,338 assists in her career. That number is good enough to put her seventh on Arizona’s all-time assists list.

Resch Hour –  Junior Alanna Resch also broke into the record books last weekend. With at least two more matches to go, Resch has recorded 371 digs on the season, a number good enough for fourth in single-season digs. Teammate Brittany Leonard holds the record with 411 digs in a season in 2006.

Snow in Tucson? –  Sophomore Stephanie Snow had a solid weekend against the Oregon schools. Snow recorded a career-high 11 kills in 15 attempts against Oregon and added eight blocks in the win. Snow has slowly climbed the conference ladder in hitting percentage and is now seventh in the league in that category (.314). Snow is also fifth in the league in blocks with 1.08 per set.

Don’t Get Upset – Arizona pulled off its third upset of the season with a 3-1 win over then No. 8 Oregon. The Wildcats have upset No. 11 USC, No. 6 Cal and No. 8 Oregon and is now 3-8 against ranked foes in 2008.

All-Academic - Sophomore Paige Weber was named to the Pac-10 All-Academic Second Team for her work off and on the court. Weber earned the honor with a 3.79 GPA as a Pre-Business student. Senior Randy Goodenough and redshirt freshman Kaylen Bannister joined her on the honorable mention team.

In the Ranking - Arizona was ranked in the top-25 for one week this season and its number of points in the rankings have moved all season. This week, the Wildcats were listed as the 34th team on the list with seven points.

Wildcats on the leaderboard  –  Sophomore Paige Weber sits sixth in the conference in assists with 10.39 a set. Both Weber and senior Brooke Buringrud are in the top-10 in the league in service aces. Weber sits fourth with .28 per set, while Buringrud places eighth with .25 per set. Junior Jacy Norton is tenth in the league in blocks with 1.01 per set, while classmate Alanna Resch is eighth in digs with 4.03 per set.

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 moved into sole possession of eighth place on the career list. Leonard is still 246 digs from the career leader Terry Lauchner who has 1,297, while Leonard sits at 1,051.

Pac-10 in the Top-25 –The Pac-10 has six teams in the top-11. Stanford sits at the top at number two, Washington is five, Cal is seventh, Oregon eighth, UCLA 10th, USC 11th .

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. Two 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.

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-place 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.

Rubio’s Record: Head coach Dave Rubio boasts a 321-1857record 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 443-253 career record.

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