Arizona Volleyball Notes - 9/17

Sept. 17, 2001

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A Return to the Court: The defending Pac-10 Co-Champion Arizona volleyball team opens its conference schedule this week with weekday matches with Oregon (Thurs.) and Oregon State (Fri.) in McKale Center.

The Opposition:OREGON - The Ducks last action was in thier own Oregon Classic. Oregon went 3-1 in the two day event with victories over New Mexico State, CSU Northridge and Boise State. Their lone loss of the season came at the hands of tournament champion Eastern Washington. The Ducks return four starters and nine letterwinners from last season's 10-19 team. OU went 2-16 in the conference in 2000, tying Washington for ninth. The Wildcats hold a 25-8 lead in the all-time series. Arizona has won the last four matches between the two schools. OREGON STATE- The Beavers also won three matches in their last week of action, defeating USF, UC Irvine and Radford on the road, before falling the Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. Oregon State returns four starters from last season's team that finished 16-16 overall and tied for seventh in the Pac-10 at 6-12. Arizona also holds the advantage in the all-time series with the Beavers 21-10 and has won the last nine straight matches, the second longest current winning streak against a conference opponent for Arizona.

The Polls: The Arizona volleyball team was voted third in the latest edition of the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll. The ranking is the highest for the program in school history, eclipsing the previous best of fourth set last season. The Wildcats are the highest ranked Pac-10 team, also a school first. Volleyball Magazine places Arizona fourth in its Week 3 poll, up three spots from the last rankings. See page five of the notes for the complete polls.

Arizona's Last Action: The Wildcats won their 14th title in 17 tries in their own Wildcat Classic two weeks ago. Arizona defeated 19th-ranked Utah and a very good Louisville team, 3-0, to capture the championship. Arizona's front row out-blocked the Utes and the Cardinals 25.5-to-14. Three Arizona players figured in double-digit kills against the Utes. Led by Shannon Torregrosa's 16 kills, Lisa Rutledgeand Jill Talbot chipped in with 15 and 10, respectively. Dana Burkholder had a season-high 47 assists against Utah. The trio combined for 35 of UA's 51 kills against Louisville and six Wildcat players record six or more digs in the match.

Even More Hardware For Burkholder: Senior setter Dana Burkholder, already the most decorated player in Arizona history, added to her personal trophy case with her second tournament MVP honor of the season at the Wildcat Classic last week. Burkholder tallied 88 assists in the two matches for an average of 14.67 apg. She also finished second amongst Arizona players in digs (16) and total blocks (10).She began the 2001 season by earning MVP honors at Florida's SunTrust Invitational. She dished out 102 assists in UA's three matches and guided the Arizona offense to a .356 hitting percentage. She also made South Florida, Marshall and Florida pay for not wathcing her at the net with 12 kills on 24 attempts with only three errors for a .375 attack percentage.

Talbot and Rutledge Recognized Again, Torregrosa earns honor: Joining Burkholder on the all-classic team were classmate Jill Talbot and juniors Lisa Rutldge and Shannon Torregrosa. Talbot continued her balanced play. She tallied 19 kills, two assists, 22 digs and eight total blocks in UA's two matches. Rutledge led Arizona with 29 kills on .344 hitting. She averaged 4.83 kills per gameand chipped in with 12 digs. The pair both earned all-tournament honors in Florida opening week. Torregrosa broke out with 28 kills against Louisville and Utah. She also tallied 10 kills and three digs.

Pac-10 Conference Openers: The Arizona volleyball team has gone 7-8 (.467) in conference opening matches since Pac-10 play began in 1986. The Wildcats have played eight of their 15 Pac-10 openers at home and hold a 3-5 (.375) record in those matches, including two losses to Oregon. The Cats have fared much better in conference openers since Coach Rubio took over in 1992, going 6-3 (.667) overall.

The Wildcats vs. Top 25: Since 1992 the Wildcats have played 115 matches against top 25 teams. In those matches the Wildcats have been the higher ranked team 29 times and own a 19-10 (.655) record. A season ago, Arizona played 14 matches against top 25 teams and were the higher ranked team in 13 of them. The Wildcats went 9-4 in those matches. So far this season Arizona has played two matches against top 25 teams (#9 Florida and #19 Utah) and have swept them both.

Outlook for 2001: The Wildcats return four starters from last seasons's team. All-American setter Dana Burkholder, right-side hitter Jill Talbot, outside hitter Lisa Rutledge and defensive specialist Rachel Williams all return to the floor for the Cats in 2001. Joining them in the starting rotation will be middle blockers Erin Sebbas and Stefani Saragosa and outside hitter Shannon Torregrosa. The loss of NCAA hitting percentage leader and All-Pac-10 middle blocker Marisa DaLee is significant, but will be offset by the return of Saragosa, who played in 30 of Arizona's 33 matches last season with an ailing shoulder that has been surgically repaired, and the spring emergence of Sebbas. Coach Rubio is counting on Torregrosa to have a breakout season in the outside hitter spot vacated by the departure of All-Pac-10 performer Allison Napier. Others returning players that are expected to see extensive floor time are defensive specialists Linda McCullagh and Christina Frost and setter/right side hitter Lauren Benward. Arizona has also added a number of newcomers that the coaching staff figure will see playing time, including setter Rochelle Ruen, right side hitter Kellie Burton and defensive specialist Kelli Mulvany.

Starting Lineup PossibilitiesSetter - Dana BurkholderRight Side- Jill TalbotOutside - Lisa Rutledge / Shannon TorregrosaMiddle Blocker- Stefani Saragosa / Erin SebbasDefensive Specialist- Rachel Williams / Kelli Mulvany

A Look Back: The 2000 season was one of the finest in school history. The Wildcats finished the season 28-5, matching the school record for wins in a season. 20 of Arizona's 28 victories were 3-0 sweeps and of Arizona's five loses only one was in three game, two were in four games and two went all five. Arizona was an outstanding 14-1 in home matches, 11-2 on the road and 3-2 in neutral court contests. (More) They advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, the deepest an Arizona team has ever gone. UA won its first Pac-10 title, sharing it with USC. 2000 marked the first time a team other than UCLA or Stanford had won the Pac-10 championship since conference play began in 1986. The 16-2 Pac-10 record shattered the school record for conference wins by four. Individually, returning setter Dana Burkholder became one of the most recognized athletes in school history. She was named both AVCA and Volleyball Magazine First-Team All-America (the first, first-team member since 1985), to the NCAA Central Region All-Tournament Team, the Pac-10 Player of the Year, First-Team All-Pac-10 and AVCA All-Pacific Region. She set numerous school records, including single-match (84), single-season (1,562) and career marks (4,068) for assists, while guiding the Arizona offense to a NCAA Division I leading .320 attack percentage, the best in school history and the second-best ever in the Pac-10. Departed seniors Marisa DaLee and Allison Napier, both 1,000 career kill members, each tallied First-Team All-Pac-10 honors. Giving the Cats three for the season, the most in any single year. DaLee led the nation in hitting percentage (.437) and was also named AVCA All-Pacific Region. Jill Talbot and Lisa Rutledge, who both return in 2001, each garnered Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 honors as well.

2000 Pac-10 Coach of the Year David Rubio: In nine years as Arizona's head coach, David Rubio has taken the Cats from the abyss of a winless Pac-10 season to the pinnacle of a conference championship. Inheriting a team that did not win a single match in the conference the year before he arrived, he has turned the Wildcats into a club that has made seven postseason appearances in eight years, won a Pac-10 Championship and 11 NCAA Tournament matches. Rubio has recruited and coached two All-Americans, the 2000 Pac-10 Player of the Year, 13 All-Pac-10 performers, six All-Pac-10 freshman players and eight academic all-conference athletes at Arizona. Also, UA athletes have earned 13 Pac-10 Player of the Week honors under his guide. During his tenure at Arizona, Rubio has led the Wildcats to 175 victories and a winning league mark over the last eight seasons. Last year's 16-2 Pac-10 record smashed the school mark for conference victories.

Closing in on 300: Head coach David Rubio is closing in on his 300th career coaching victory. The 10th year Arizona coach needs only three more wins for the milestone. Rubio has amassed 177 wins at Arizona and an additional 120 in five seasons at CSU Bakersfield

Rule Changes in 2001: Gone from the rule book is the first to 15 with side-outs. Into play is the faster paced 'rally scoring'. In a departure from the previous scoring format, a team may score a point whether it is the serving or receiving team, there are no longer 'side-outs' in which the service receiving teams cannot score. Simply stated, every time the ball is put in play, each team will have an opportunity to score. Now, in order for a team to win a non-deciding game (the first four games of the match) it must be the first to reach 30 points and lead by at least two using rally scoring. In a match deciding game (the fifth game of the match) the first team to reach 15, again in rally scoring format (i.e. no side-outs), and lead by two or more points is the winner of that game. Another change is that served balls that touch the net and continue on to the opponent's side will remain in play. Balls that strike the net and fall on the serving team's side or out of play will result in a point for the opposition. Previously, any ball that struck the net on a serve was ruled dead and resulted in a side-out.

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