2008-09 Volleyball Season 0utloook- Part One
July 25, 2008
After many years of success that only a handful of collegiate teams experienced, Arizona found themselves in unfamiliar territory having back-to-back losing seasons. With injuries something of the past and a core group of players returning, the Wildcats hope to return to their winning ways.
The Wildcats, if they can stay healthy, will have no problems accumulating wins for 2008. The return of a handful of players, who are athletic and experienced, plus the return of local standout Whitney Dosty and a very talented freshman class has Head Coach Dave Rubio very excited for this season.
'The last couple of years we've had to overcome injuries to our best players,' Rubio said. 'The key this year will be staying healthy. There is no guarantee that you'll go through a season without injuries. Unlike the past couple of seasons, we now have good depth and quality backups.'
Experience will play a huge factor in the team's success. Despite having a young roster, the players on last year's team know what to expect having played in the tough Pac-10 conference. As a result, the Wildcats finished the season 14-17 with a 4-14 mark in conference play.
'We still feel like were young,' Rubio said. 'Our kids have been through our conference every night so it helps with their confidence. We'll have good senior leadership. We also have the talent to make a run. The question is, can we put all the ingredients together?'
Much of this season's excitement revolves around the return of Dosty, who returns from a knee injury that kept her sidelined for the entire season last year.
'We are excited to have Whitney back,' Rubio said. 'She is our marquee player and local product. She possesses extraordinary physical talent. She is so physically dominant that she gives confidence to her teammates and takes pressure off of them. The key for Whitney will be improving and not being great right away. She has the potential to be one of the top three players in the country when she is a senior.'
Along with Dosty, the Wildcats return a solid group that led the team in most statistical categories. Among the returnees is All-Pac-10 Freshman Tiffany Owens who led the team in blocks, senior opposite hitter Randy Goodenough who led the team in kills, junior Alanna Resch who led the team in digs, and sophomore Paige Weber who led the team in assists.
'I am very excited about the players we have returning,' Rubio said. 'We have the talent and the experience to make a run in the NCAA Tournament.'
Seniors Brooke Buringrud and Brittany Leonard, junior Jacy Norton, and sophomore Stephanie Snow will also play a major factor in the team's success. Norton and Snow will have to make up for the absence of All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention selection Dominique Lamb, who graduated last year. They will also be looked upon for leadership and confidence.
In addition to the players returning, the Wildcats bring in a highly touted freshman class which includes three top-50 recruits. Dana Hutchinson (Laguna Beach, Calif.), Courtney Karst (Centennial, Colo.), and Amy Webster (San Diego, Calif.) are all expected to come in and make an impact, which could result in significant playing time right away.
'This particular freshman class possesses a tremendous amount of volleyball skills,' Rubio said. 'They can come in and make an impact immediately. They give us great depth and a competitiveness we have lacked.'
Arizona opens play against Weber State on August 29, 2008 in the Sheraton Four Points Wildcat Classic at 10:10 a.m.