No. 22 Cats Host Homestand

Oct. 7, 2009

No. 22 Arizona vs. Oregon State – Friday, Oct. 9   7:00 p.m.


No. 22 Arizona vs. No. 11 Oregon – Saturday, Oct. 10   7:00 p.m.



This Week: Arizona volleyball looks to get back to its winning ways this weekend as it hosts Oregon State on Friday night and Oregon on Saturday. The team welcomes a weekend back in its home venue after suffering a difficult road trip.  The Cats have a 7-1 record in McKale this year although their last match on their home-court finished in a defeat to UCLA.  Currently in search of conference wins, the Cats would enjoy nothing more than to repeat their 2008 home-stand against the Oregon schools and come away with two wins.                                                          


Last time out: Arizona turned out its worst outing of the season on its first conference road trip, losing to both Washington State and No. 3 Washington, 3-0. After getting swept by the unranked Cougars in Pullman on Friday night, the Cats couldn’t figure things out against the highly-touted Dawgs and came back to Tucson without a win to show for their travels.  They'll look to right the ship back in Tucson this weekend.


In the rankings:  Arizona fell four spots in the latest AVCA poll to No. 22 after its two defeats in the Pacific Northwest.  It’s the fifth consecutive poll in which the Wildcats have appeared after starting the season unranked.  The Pac-10 now has a record eight teams ranked in the top-25 after Washington State cracked the charts for the first time.


Scouting this week’s opposition:

Oregon State - Oregon State (10-5, 1-2) snapped a six-match series winning streak by Oregon on Friday, defeating the seventh-ranked Ducks in five at home.  The Beavers enter McKale Center with a perfect 4-0 record and are led by Rachel Rourke who tied Tiffany Owens’ mark Friday night with a conference- high 29 kills.


Oregon - The No. 11 Ducks head to Arizona after getting upset by in-state rival Oregon State Friday night, 3-2. They currently have a record of 11-2, 1-2 in conference and are tied for fifth with the Beavers and Golden Bears.  Sonja Newcombe leads the Duck attack with 165 total kills while Nevena Djordjevic is the point guard of the team, dishing out 536 total dimes. 


Series History and Last Head-to-Head:

Arizona vs. Oregon State  – Nov. 23, 2008 in Tucson, Ariz. – The Cats and Beavs meet up for the 47th time in school history on Friday. In their last meeting, the Wildcats swept the Beavers, 3-0 in front of 1,055.  Arizona holds a series record over Oregon State with 35 wins to 12 losses.


Arizona vs. Oregon — Nov. 21, 2008 in Tucson, Ariz. - Arizona topped the Ducks in their last meeting in McKale Center last season by a score of 3-1.  After dropping the first set, the Cats came back and won three straight.  In the all-time series history Arizona leads Oregon 37-12 since their first meeting in 1980.


Head Coach Dave Rubiois in his 18th season as head coach of Arizona.  In that time span, Rubio has a record of 333-190.  Rubio also boasts a career record of 454-255 in 23+ career years.  In the last ten seasons, Rubio has guided the Wildcats to five Sweet 16s, four Elite Eights and to Arizona’s first-ever Final Four. His teams have won over 200 matches during this ten-year stretch, including 16 in the NCAA Tournament, which is six more than the previous 14 postseason teams combined.  Rubio and the Wildcats finished above .500 in 2008 with the Wildcats posting a 16-14 record, just missing the NCAA tournament. Arizona pulled off three upset wins over top-11 teams, including No. 11 USC, No. 8 Oregon and No. 6 Cal.


Floor General:  Junior Paige Weber continues to be the rock in which her teammates count on, time and time again.  Weber has currently racked up 530 total assists and has appeared in every set this season along with teammates Tiffany Owens and Alanna Resch. Even more impressive perhaps is the fact that Weber has played in every set in her entire career at Arizona.  In 2007 as a freshman, Weber charted 108 total sets.  Last season, the Wildcat blogger had 106 sets played to lead the team.


McKale is Filling Up:  With a total of 4,248 fans showing up when the Cats hosted USC and UCLA, the McKale Center is beginning to be a tough place for opponents.  With the new curtain, which was installed before last season, the arena has been transformed into an ideal setting for volleyball.  Add in the noise and atmosphere in which the team feeds off and you can see why the Cats enjoy playing at home.      


No. 9 is the Cat’s Slayer:  When the Wildcats are in need of a kill, more often than not they’ll be looking for their team leader Tiffany Owens.  Owens leads the team with 198 total kills and averages 3.88 kills per set.  Additionally Owens ranks in at No. 5 in conference in the kill per set category.


Need More Points: Coach Rubio has stressed the need to score more and commit less errors and that couldn’t have been stressed more this past weekend.  Although the Wildcats recorded more kills and blocks over the Cougars, they recorded costly errors at inopportune times.  Against Washington, Arizona just couldn’t mount enough points and failed to break the 20-point barrier in a match for the first time all season.


Six Away: Middle Blocker Jacy Norton needs six more blocks to tallying 400 for her career as a Wildcat.  The senior remains the conference active leader with 394.  Oregon’s Neticia Enesi is the next closest on the list with 370. Norton could become just the sixth ever Wildcat to record 400 blocks for her career..


Breast Cancer Awareness Night: The Wildcats will hold their annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night when they face the Oregon State Beavers on Friday.  Everyone is encouraged to wear pink to showcase awareness.


Senior Leader:  Libero Alanna Resch has been one of Arizona’s standouts, even through this three-match losing streak.  Examining the Pac-10 active charts, Resch seventh with 964 total digs.  After beginning her career as an outside hitter, Resch has been able to provide the defensive presence that her team needs. Resch is currently second in digs this season with 137, just behind team leader Tiffany Owens who has 146.


No Road Love:  Arizona volleyball is currently on a two-year streak without recording a conference road win.  The futile streak has now stretched to 17 matches as the Wildcats fell to Washington State and No. 3 Washington over the weekend. 


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 42 points in the vote, as defending champion Stanford was third with Washington being the preseason favorite.  The Huskies claimed 90 points, 10 more than second-place Cal, including nine of the 10 first-place votes.  Cal was the only other team to receive a first-place vote. UCLA fell into fourth with 62 points and USC was picked fifth with 60 points.  Oregon came in sixth with 48 points.  Rounding out the poll were Arizona State, Oregon State, and Washington State, respectively.


Up Next: Arizona hits the road for a three-match jaunt against Arizona State on Oct. 16 and then up to the Bay Area the following weekend to face Cal and Stanford.


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