Arizona finishes season 16-14

Dec. 2, 2008

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This Week: The Arizona volleyball team (16-14 6-12 Pac-10) finished the 2008 season in seventh in the Pac-10 Conference. The team won two more matches than the 2007 squad, but  despite being eligible, missed the NCAA tournament for the third straight season.

Last Weekend:
Arizona @ Washington State : The Wildcats closed out their 2008 campaign with a 3-2 loss to the Cougars, which snapped a four-game winning streak over WSU. Washington State jumped on Arizona early and won the fifth set  for the win, 25-17, 25-21, 23-25, 21-25, 15-10. Sophomore Tiffany Owens recorded a career-high 26 kills on way to her third straight and tenth overall double-double with 14 digs. Classmate Paige Weber also tied a career-high with 63 assists and added 13 digs for her second straight double-double. As a team, the Wildcats recorded season highs in kills (73), attempts (179) and assists (70).
Arizona @ Washington:  Arizona gave the fifth-ranked Huskies all they could handle but fell 3-1.  The Wildcats lost the first two sets by a combined four points and lost 25-23, 25-23, 22-25 and 25-17. Sophomore Tiffany Owens led the team with 19 kills and 12 digs, while junior Alanna Resch recorded 23 digs as part of the team’s season-high 94 digs. This was Arizona’s 11th loss to a ranked opponent.

Pac-10 in the tourney – The Pac-10 received six bids to the 64-team NCAA tournament. Stanford was the national No. 2 seed, Washington No. 5 seed, Cal No. 8 seed, Oregon No. 11 seed, UCLA No. 14 seed and USC was outside the top-16 seeds.

Against the Field – The Wildcats played eight teams in this year’s 64-team field and had a combined  3-11 record against them. Arizona played each of their conference foes twice, going 3-9, while going 0-2 against Santa Clara and Colorado State.

All-Pac-10 – Sophomore Tiffany Owens was named to the All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention list for her efforts this season. The sophomore led the Wildcats in double-double (10), kills (333), attempts (925) and was second in digs (274). This was Owens second season on the conferences postseason list. Last year she was a member of the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team. Owens is tenth in the conference in kills, averaging 3.30 per set.

All-Freshman – Freshmen Dana Hutchinson and Courtney Karst were named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Honorable Mention list. Both were important contributors off the bench for Arizona in their first season. Karst ended the season with 75 kills on a .287 hitting percentage and added 29 digs and 33 blocks. Hutchinson made similar contributions, collecting 49 kills , 104 digs, 12 aces and nine blocks.

All-Academic – Sophomore Paige Weber was named to the Pac-10’s All-Academic Second Team for her work in the classroom. Weber is a pre-business sophomore with a 3.79 GPA. Senior Randy Goodenough and redshirt freshman Kaylen Bannister were named to the all-academic honorable mention for their school work.

Resch Hour –  Junior Alanna Resch broke into the record books this season with the highest digs per set total in Arizona history. Resch finished with a 4.01 average, well above teammate Brittany Leonard’s 2006 mark of 3.84. However, Resch did finish with the second highest season dig total in Wildcats history. Resch finished the year with 405 digs, just six behind Leonard’s 2006 total of  411. Resch finished the season in eighth in the conference in digs per set with her 4.01 average.

Leonard’s final tally –  Senior Brittany Leonard finished her Wildcat career eighth on the team’s all-time digs list with 1, 067. Leonard is also sixth on the all-time list in matches played at 119 after playing in all but one match this season.

Another senior –  Senior Brooke Buringrud has also left her mark on the Arizona program. Buringrud finished her Arizona career in sixth on the aces per set list and recorded more than 775 kills, 531 digs and 147 blocks in four years.

She’s Goodenough –  Senior Randy Goodenough battled through back injuries this season, but managed to be a big contributor to the Wildcats. Goodenough is a two-time All-Pac-10 Academic Honorable Mention member in both 2007 and 2008. She finishes her career with over 300 sets played, more than 650 kills and over 200 blocks.

Cover Paige –  Sophomore Paige Weber finished the season with more than 1,000 assists for the second straight season. In two years she has collected 2, 451 assists, good enough for seventh on the Wildcats all-time assists list. Weber was also named to the conferences all-academic second team with her impressive 3.79 GPA. Weber is fifth in the conference in assists with 10.58 per set and fifth in the league in aces per set, averaging 0.27 per set.

Let it Snow, let it Snow, let it Snow –  Sophomore Stephanie Snow played well down the stretch for Arizona.  She finished the season with the team lead in hitting percentage (.325), solo blocks (22), block assists (88) and total blocks (110). Snow ranks sixth in the conference in hitting percentage at .325 and fourth in the league in blocks, averaging 1.09 per set.

Strong up the middle –  Junior Jacy Norton finished right behind Snow in several of those categories. Norton finished one block shy of 100 total blocks at 99 and added 121 kills on a .309 hitting percentage for  Arizona.

Nice comeback –  Sophomore Whitney Dosty proved that  her knee was healthy after missing most of 2007 following knee surgery. The Tucson native played in 99 sets while recording 281 kills and 61 blocks for the Wildcats. Dosty led the Wildcats in kills in eight matches, including her season-high 20 kills against USC.

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.

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.

Player of the Week – Sophomore outside hitter Tiffany Owens was named the 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.

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 3-11 against ranked foes in 2008.

Where they stand  –  As a team, Arizona finished the season sixth in hitting percentage (.228), sixth in opponent hitting percentage (.197), seventh in assists (11.84 per set), seventh in kills (12.92 per set), third in blocks (2.59 per set), fourth in service aces (1.15 per set) and eighth in digs (13.89 per set).

Other 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.

Rubio’s Record: Head coach Dave Rubio boasts a 321-189record 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 443-255 career record.

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