Wildcats head to Houston in final tournament before conference play

Sept. 16, 2008

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This Week:

The Arizona volleyball team (8-1, 0-0 Pac-10) goes on the road for the second straight weekend when it travels to Houston to play in the University of Houston Tournament. The Wildcats play Stephen F. Austin, Loyola Marymount and host Houston over two days. This tournament will be Arizona’s last before opening its Pac-10 schedule next weekend. The Wildcats open with Stephen F. Austin Friday at 5:30 p.m. and play two games Saturday at noon against Loyola Marymount and at 7:30 p.m. against Houston. Every Wildcat match has been in a tournament so far and Arizona is 8-1 with two tournament wins in 2008.


                                             Friday, Sept. 19

                                                                                    Stephen F. Austin at Houston                                        noon

                                                                                    Arizona vs. Stephen F. Austin                                      5:30 p.m.

                                                                                    Loyola Marymount at Houston                                      7:30 p.m


                                             Saturday, Sept. 20

                                                                                    Arizona vs. Loyola Marymount                                     noon

                                                                                    Loyola Marymount vs. Stephen F. Austin                  5:30 p.m.

                                                                                    Arizona at Houston                                                           7:30 p.m.


Scouting the Opposition:


Stephen F. Austin-  The Ladyjacks are coming off a pretty hectic weekend. After starting the season 4-3, last weekend’s Ladyjack Invitational was cancelled because of Hurricane Ike. The team missed out on playing four games, but are scheduled to play tonight against North Texas. SFA is led by Lauren Railey who leads the team with 88 kills and 12 blocks.


Loyola Marymount – The Lions come into the tournament 7-3 on the season and just finished 2-1 in last weekend’s tournament in New Mexico. LMU is led by Emily Day, who leads the team in kills with 151 and digs with 106. The Lions and Wildcats share one common opponent San Jose State. Both teams beat the Spartans, Arizona swept them 3-0, the Lions beat SJSU 3-1.


Houston- The Cougars are hosting their first tournament of the season. Houston comes in 4-5 with three of its losses coming in five sets. Justine Farmer leads the team in kills with 122 and Amanda Carson paces them in services aces, 16, and digs, 102. The Cougars and Wildcats both played Texas State this season and both won with Arizona sweeping them 3-0 and Houston beating them 3-2.


Series History:


Stephen F. Austin – This will be the first meeting between the Wildcats and Ladyjacks. Arizona plays four teams in 2008 they have never faced before in school history, this will be the fourth. The Wildcats beat Gardner-Webb, Chicago State and Texas State earlier in the year in those schools’ first match up.


Loyola Marymount – Arizona is 2-1 against Loyola Maymount. The Wildcats and Lions last meet in 1996 when LMU was ranked 20th and beat the Wildcats 3-0. Arizona beat the Lions 3-0 in the teams’ first meeting in 1985.





Houston This will be these teams’ eighth meeting all-time. The Wildcats hold a 6-1 record, but these two schools haven’t met since 1993 when the Wildcats beat the 25th ranked Cougars 3-1.


CSU-Bakersfield Invitational Recap:

Arizona won its second tournament in three tries and outscored its opponents 253-157. Arizona head coach Dave Rubio returned to the school he won a Division-II Championship at and beat his old team 3-0. Sophomore setter Paige Weber was named tournament MVP and sophomore outside hitter Whitney Dosty and junior middle blocker Jacy Norton were both named to the all-tournament team.

Arizona at CSU Bakersfield – The Wildcats won the CSU Bakersfield Invitational with a 3-0 win over the host Roadrunners. Arizona rolled with a .424 hitting percentage and combined for 13 team blocks in the win. This was head coach Dave Rubio’s second win over his former team. Brooke Buringrud led the team in kills for the second time this season when she recorded 14.

Arizona vs. Fresno State – Arizona dropped the second set of the match, but rebounded to beat the Bulldogs 3-1. For the first time in 2008, Arizona lost a set, but won the match when it beat Fresno 25-17, 28-30, 25-17, 25-14. Whitney Dosty led the team with 12 kills and Paige Weber recorded a season-high 46 assists.

Arizona vs. Chicago State - The Wildcats recorded their most lopsided victory of the season beating the Cougars 3-0 with the scores ending up 25-5, 25-12 and 25-16. Arizona got to show off some of its bench with 14 different players seeing action. Sophomore middle blocker Stephanie Snow led the team with nine kills and she added four blocks.


Cover PaigePaige Weber was named tournament MVP for the second time in 2008 when she was given the award at the CSUB Invitational last weekend. The sophomore setter has picked up where she left off in 2007. She leads the team in assists with 314  in nine  matches. That is good enough for fourth in the Pac 10 in assists per game and the 35th best average in the nation. Weber is also fourth in the league in aces per serve at 0.45.


An inside presence – Junior middle blocker Jacy Norton was named to the CSUB Invitational All-Tournament team and has been a tough presence inside for the Wildcats. Norton had ten blocks on the weekend to go along with 15 kills.  Norton is sixth in the Pac-10 in blocks with 1.20 per set. She and sophomore middle blocker Stephanie Snow have played solid in the middle. Snow is currently fifth in the conference in hitting percentage at .376 and 10th in blocks per set at 1.11.


Dosty’s getting their – After missing all of 2007 with a knee injury, sophomore outside hitter Whitney Dosty seems to be getting better ever match. The Tucson-native was named to the CSUB Invitational All-Tournament Team. She led the Wildcats in kills one game and digs in another. On the season she has the most kills of any Wildcat with 87 and is third in blocks with 24. Dosty ninth in the Pac-10 in points with 3.89 per set.


The calming presence – In a new role in 2008, senior outside hitter Brooke Buringrud is continuing to contribute. Buringrud  is now coming off the bench and has led the team in kills in two of the last four matches. She is currently eighth in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage at .357.


Resch to the rescue – Junior libero Alanna Resch has been the team leader in digs in five of the last six matches and is currently eighth in the Pac-10 in digs-per-set.


The real T.O. - Sophomore outside hitter Tiffany Owens recorded her second double-double of the season with 15 kills and 14 digs against Santa Clara. She also had the team’s first double-double in the team’s first game. Owens had 11 kills and 12 digs in the Wildcats 3-0 win over Weber State. Owens has led the Wildcats in three of their nine matches in kills, was digs leader in two games and service aces leaders once. She is currently second on the team in kills and digs with 65 and 66 respectively.


Arizona’s place – The Wildcats sit fifth in the conference in hitting percentage (.286), first in opponents hitting percentage (.088),  fifth in kills (13.83 per set), second in blocks (2.93 per set) and second in service aces (2.03 per set). Nationally the team is 8th in blocks per set, 15th in aces per set, 19th in hitting percentage and 31st in kills per set.


13-set win streak - Arizona started the season winning the first 13 sets it played in before losing its first set and match to Santa Clara on 9/5/08. The last time the Wildcats began the season on a similar streak was 2005 when they won their first 12 sets. 2005 was also the last time Arizona was in the postseason. Arizona record for starting the season with the most consecutive set wins was 2001 when they won their first 17 sets  before dropping a set to Oregon to open Pac-10 play.


2008 award winners -  Last weekend three players were named to the CSUB All-Tournament Team. Paige Weber brought home tournament MVP, while Jacy Norton and Whitney Dosty were named to the all-tournament team. Ttwo Wildcats were named to the Arizona Invitational All-Tournament Team, Stephanie Snow and Tiffany Owens. The week before Paige Weber was named Wildcat Classic MVP, Alanna Resch was named Wildcat Classic Most Outstanding Libero and Tiffany was named to the Wildcat Classic All-Tournament Team, her first or two awards in as many weeks.


Cats in the poll – Arizona showed up in the AVCA Coaches poll in the Others Receiving Votes category for the third straight week. The Wildcats were the 30th  team on the list with nine points. Arizona’s point total fell from 32 the first week to three the second week and back up to nine the third.


Pac-10 in the Top-25 – After opening the season with six teams in the top-11, the Pac-10 now has six teams in the top-12.  UCLA is out front at fourth, USC fifth, Stanford sixth, Cal ninth, Washington 10th and Oregon 12th.


Season Openers:

Since records began being kept of Arizona volleyball in 1977, the team is 24-8 in opening-season games and have won its last four including this season’s 3-0 win over Weber State. Under head coach Dave Rubio, the Wildcats are 13-4 to start the year.


2008 career records to look for:

Senior Brooke Buringrud is currently sixth on the career aces-per-game list at 0.27. The leader is Kiyomi Morino at 0.47.

Senior Brittany Leonard holds the current record for digs-per-game at 3.19. Leonard is also 10th on the total digs list at 968. In her first three season, Leonard has averaged 322 digs and if she matches that total it will put her at 1,290, good for second on the all-time list behind leader Terry Lauchner at 1,297.


2007 in the record books:

Sophomore Paige Weber collected 1330 saves last season which was the eighth highest assists total for a year. She also averaged 12.13 assists per game, which was good enough for seventh all-time.

Junior Alanna Resch  also put herself in the record books with 3.38 digs per game. That placed Resch fifth on the list and behind current senior Brittany Leonard’s 2005 total of 3.70 and 2006 total of 3.84, which is tops in program history.



2007 award winners:

Sophomore Tiffany Owens was named to the 2007 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team and former Wildcat Dominique Lamb was selected to the All-Pac-10 honorable mention.


Pac-10 Preseason Poll:

Arizona was selected to finish seventh in the Pac-10 Conference in a preseason vote by the conference’s head coaches.  The Wildcats garnered 39 points in the vote, as defending champion Stanford was chosen as the favorite to win this year’s Pac-10 volleyball title.  Stanford claimed 90 points, 15 more than second-place UCLA, including nine of the 10 first-place votes.  UCLA was the only other team to receive a first-palce vote. USC fell into third with 68 points and Cal was picked fourth with 62 points. Both schools made it to the Final Four last season. Washington came in fifth with 59 points, followed by Oregon in sixth with 51 points. Rounding out the poll were Arizona State, Oregon State, and Washington State, respectively.


Stacked Schedule:

Arizona will be faced with the challenge of playing some of the best teams in the country in 2007.  The Wildcats will participate in four non-conference tournaments before competing in the Pac-10 Conference.  Arizona will face nine teams this season that participated in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.  Matchups with Colorado State, Santa Clara and Texas State highlight a tough non-conference slate that will prepare the Wildcats for the ever difficult Pac-10 which features last season’s national runner-up Stanford and two other Final Four teams in Cal and USC.


Rubio’s Record:

Head coach Dave Rubio boasts a 310-176 record in his 17 seasons at the helm of the Wildcat program. In 2005, he not only became the winningest coach in Arizona history, he also notched his 400th career victory in the team’s win over Ohio in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. In 21 years as a head coach, Rubio has a 432-242 career record.



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