Arizona Wildcats 2003 Volleyball Outlook

Aug. 22, 2003

ARIZONA WILDCATS

TEAM PREVIEW
Only one senior on the squad, but plenty of experience as the sophomore and junior classes saw extensive playing time last season. The Wildcats are led by a pair of sophomore outside hitters in Kim Glass, the Pac-10 and AVCA Freshman of the Year, and Bre Ladd. The Wildcats have posted a winning record in Pac-10 play seven years running. Only back-to-back defending national champions USC and Stanford can claim the same stretch of success.

STRENGTHS

  • Glass (4.96 kpg) established an Arizona single-season record with 556 kills last season. Look for sophomore outside hitter Jennifer Abernathy to get her share of swings to provide the Cats with a balanced offensive attack.
  • Ladd, a Pac-10 All-Freshman outside hitter, stepped up her game in the second half last season. In her first 13 matches, Ladd tallied 83 kills (1.77 kpg). In the last 19 matches she racked up 196 kills (2.93 kpg). Her continued improvement helped Arizona to go 13-6 over the 19-match stretch and improved her season totals from 1.77 kpg to 2.45 kpg for the season. Her hitting percentage also improved from .196 to a solid .298.
  • Sophomore middle blocker Angie Ayers developed into a quality middle blocker. She posted 70 blocks (1.32 bpg) over the last 16 matches. Overall, she ranked ninth in the Pac-10 with 1.08 blocks per game.

    CONCERNS

  • A big question mark at setter where Arizona will go with freshman Stephanie Butkus or senior transfer Kelly Griffin. All returning players combined for just 78 assists. Of the returning players, only Glass had more than 14 assists as she tallied 32 assists.
  • The Cats lose three veteran starters in Lisa Rutledge, Shannon Torregrosa and Laurie Gardner. Rutledge accounted for 3.64 kpg and racked up 1,473 kills during her Arizona career - third best in school history.
  • A competitive schedule has the Cats playing eight non-conference opponents that appeared in the NCAA Tournament. In all, 23 matches will be played against participants in last year's postseason.

    ACCORDING TO COACH RUBIO
    'This is the youngest team we've ever had at Arizona, but it also might be the most talent. We're going to be counting on a number of freshmen and sophomores in key roles this season. It's my hope that talent overcomes experience.'

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