Arizona faces Weber State in opener

Aug. 28, 2008

The Arizona volleyball team opens its 2008 season Friday, Aug. 29 at 10:00 a.m. in McKale Center against Weber State as part of the Wildcat Classic.The Wildcats play two games Friday at 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. and one game Saturday at 12:30.

San Jose State and Gardner-Webb join Weber State and Arizona in this year's classic.Last season, the Wildcats finished 2-1 in the Four Points University Plaza Wildcat Classic, beating Utah State and Easter Washington, 3-0, and losing to St. Mary's, 3-2.

This year Arizona is hoping to come out of the weekend unbeaten.

The Wildcats are coming off a 14-17 season that was plagued by injuries. The team returns 2006 Pac-10 All-Freshman Whitney Dosty, who is coming off a knee injury that forced her to miss all of the 2007 campaign. She should provide a ton of offensive power for the Wildcats.

'Being injury free is a blessing,' Arizona head coach Dave Rubio said. 'It's nice to have all of the most talented kids on the floor at the same time.'

Along with Dosty, Arizona also returns seniors Brooke Buringrud, Brittany Leonard, and Randy Goodenough, all of whom should provide good leadership and experiences for the team.

Sophomore Tiffany Owens comes back after being named to the 2007 Pac-10 All-Freshman team and leading the team in kills. Classmate Paide Weber also returns after a 1,330 assists season, that led the team.

Arizona finished up two weeks of two-a-day practices in the preseason and now focus their attention on the 2008 slate.

'We're ready to play against someone other than ourselves,' Rubio said.

Weber State, Arizona's first opponent, comes into the classic off its best conference record in 19 years. The other Wildcats return eight players from last year's squad including all six starters. Weber State senior Brittney Bisaillon needs just 11 more blocks to become the school's all-time leader in that category.

Arizona plays San Jose State Friday night at 7:00 p.m. The Spartans enter the 2008 season picked to finish third in the Western Athletics Conference. They return two seniors, Colleen Burke and Niki Clement, who were named to the Preseason All-WAC Team.

The Wildcats final opponent, Gardner-Webb, comes to Tucson as part of a new conference in 2008. The Bulldogs complete the jump Division-I by entering the Big South after moving over from the Atlantic Sun.

'I think this field is terrific,' said Rubio. 'All these teams should push us and (the tournament) will give us a chance to be able to run our system and hopefully be successful.'

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