2013 Preview: Arizona Volleyball
The Wildcats spent most of the 2012 season in transition as Arizona missed out on the postseason for only the eighth time since they joined the Pac-12 in 1986. A hefty portion of last year's roster consisted of underclassmen with no prior playing experience. This year, however, UA will have 10 returning letterwinners, five of which were starters last year and two of which are seniors. Alongside eight newcomers, this year's roster has plenty of room for further development under head coach David Rubio, who is the Conference's active wins leader.
» Arizona returns its top-three scorers in JR OH Madi Kingdon, JR OH Taylor Arizobal and SO MB Halli Amaro. Kingdon has led the Wildcats' scoring efforts for the past two seasons, tallying 801 kills so far in her career. Her sophomore campaign saw her finish eighth in the Conference in kills (443). Arizobal, who complements Kingdon at the outside hitter position, had five double-doubles last year and was second on the squad in kills with 328.
» SR L Candace Nicholson returns for her final year at Arizona as the team's top libero. Nicholson played in 28 games, 21 of which saw digs in the double figures. Her 1,130 career digs are currently eighth overall in the Wildcat record books. Nicholson also has postseason experience, recording 10 digs in the first round NCAA Tournament in 2011 as a sophomore.
» Defensively, both of Arizona's top blockers, Amaro (100 blocks) and Olivia Magill (104 blocks), will return to hold down the efforts at the net. Starting middle blocker JR Rachel Rhoades, who tallied 91 blocks of her own, also contributes to the front line defense.
» Despite veteran experience at other positions, Arizona will have to fill the setter spot left vacant by Chanel Brown. The only returning setter, Aubrey McKinney, registered just two assists last year and had very limited playing time. As for newcomers, the Wildcats have two freshmen setters in Jessica Long and Penina Snuka.
» The Wildcats tied for last in opponent hitting percentage, allowing them to register a .215 average. UA's defense will have to react more quickly to the opponent's attack if it wants another return trip to the postseason.