Wildcats host Washington schools to open Pac-10

Sept. 23, 2008

This Week:The Arizona volleyball team (10-1, 0-0 Pac-10) opens conference play this weekend with a pair of games against Washington and Washington State. The Wildcats play the Cougars Friday, Sept. 26 at 7:00 p.m. and the Huskies Saturday, Sept. 27 at 7:00 p.m. Arizona opens its 2008 conference schedule in McKale and starts a stretch of playing three home conference games in six days. After the two games against the Washington schools, the Wildcats welcome in-state rival Arizona State to Tucson for a mid-week match Wednesday, Oct. 1. The Wildcats' match with Washington will be their first against a ranked opponent in 2008. Arizona's lone loss of the year came to Santa Clara, who is currently the top team in the Other Team Receiving Vote category.

Scouting the Opposition:

Washington State- The Cougars enter this weekend's matches at the bottom of the Pac-10 in several categories. They are last in the standings at 7-4. However, the team does lead the league in digs-per-set with 15.71. Junior Kelly Hyder is second in the league in dig per set with 4.50 and she is Washington State's career leader in that category. The Cougars come into the match on a three-game winning streak.

Washington - The No. 9 Huskies are coming off a rout of No. 17 San Diego last weekend. UW beat the Toreros in three straight sets 25-16, 25-13, 25-9. The Huskies enter league play 9-1, having dropped just three sets so far in their 3-2 loss to Hawai'I. Junior Jill Collymore leads the nation in aces-per-set with 0.74, while sophomore Jenna Hagglund lead the Pac-10 in assists-per-set with 12.03. Washington is one of five Pac-10 teams with just one loss.

Series History:

Washington State - This will be the 66th match between these two schools with Arizona holding a 53-12 edge. Arizona beat the Cougars in both matches last season 3-1 and 3-0. The Wildcats are on a current three-game win streak against WUS, but the last Cougars win came in Tucson in 2006.

Washington - This will be the 48th meeting between these two schools with the Wildcats holding a slight 24-23 edge in the all-time series. The Huskies are on a current eight-game winning streak over Arizona and have been ranked in each of those contests. The last time the Wildcats beat Washington was in 2003 in Tucson.

LMU Tournament Recap:After having to quickly change plans due to complications following Hurricane Ike, the Wildcats moved tournaments from Houston to Loyola Marymount and finished their pre-conference schedule 10-1 with a 3-2 win over UC Riverside and a 3-0 win over LMU.Arizona at Loyola Marymount - The Wildcats wrapped up their pre-conference schedule with a 3-0 win over the host Lions. Arizona beat LMU 25-19 in all three sets and were led by sophomore Tiffany Owens with 11 kills and the team had a .358 hitting percentage.Arizona vs. UC Riverside - Arizona jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, but needed five sets to put away the Highlanders. This was Arizona's first five-set match of the season. Sophomore outside hitter Whitney Dosty had a season-high 16 kills in the win and the team had a season-high 13.5 blocks.

Digging towards the top - Senior Brittany Leonard recorded her 1,000 career dig in the team's 3-2 win over UC Riverside. The libero continues her climb up the career digs list. The Menlo Park, Calif. resident collected 18 digs over the weekend and moved up one spot to ninth on the career list. Leonard is still a little under 300 digs from the career leader Terry Lauchner who has 1,297, while Leonard sits at 1,009.

Owens-Owens - Sophomore outside hitter Tiffany Owens recorded two more double-doubles in both of the matches over the weekend. Owens had 14 kills and 11 digs against UC Riverside and added 11 kills and 11 digs against Loyola Marymount. The San Bernardino, Calif. product is the only Wildcat with any double-doubles this season and sits second on the team in kills and digs.

Block party - The 2008 Wildcats have been a team known for their blocks. Arizona has the sixth highest blocks-per-set number in the nation at 2.88. Sophomore Stephanie Snow and junior Jacy Norton also sit in the top-10 in the conference in individual blocks per set. As a team, the Wildcats have 38 solo blocks and 137 block assists for a 106.5 total.

Cover Paige -The sophomore setter has picked up where she left off in 2007. She leads the team in assists with 390 in 11 matches. That is good enough for seventh in the Pac 10 in assists per set and the 48th best average in the nation. Weber is also fourth in the league in aces per serve at 0.43. Weber has won two tournament MVP awards this season, one in the opening Wildcat Classic and one in the CSU Bakersfield Invitational.

Dosty's getting there - After missing all of 2007 with a knee injury, sophomore outside hitter Whitney Dosty seems to be getting better every match. The Tucson native leads the team with 111 kills and has been the team leader in kills in three of the team's 11 matches.

Arizona's place - The Wildcats sit fifth in the conference in hitting percentage (.285), first in opponents hitting percentage (.101), second in blocks (2.88 per set) and third in service aces (1.78 per set). Nationally the team is 6th in blocks per set, 32nd in aces per set and 14th in hitting percentage.

`Cats in the poll - Arizona showed up in the AVCA Coaches poll in the Others Receiving Votes category for the fourth straight week. The Wildcats were the 27th team on the list with 43 points. Arizona's point total and position is the highest it has been all season.

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-11. UCLA is out front at fourth, USC fifth, Stanford sixth, Cal eighth, Washington ninth and Oregon 11th. The Pac-10 has two more teams in the top 28. Both Arizona and Oregon State fell in the Other Teams Receiving Votes category at 27 and 28 respectively.

2008 award winners - Throughout the season, a handful of Wildcats have been awarded tournament honors. 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.

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.

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.

Rubio's Record:Head coach Dave Rubio boasts a 312-176 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 434-242 career record.

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