Arizona to take on a pair of top-5 teams

Oct. 7, 2008

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This Week:

The Arizona volleyball team (12-3, 2-1 Pac-10) goes on the road for the second straight weekend to play ranked opponents. The Wildcats head to the Bay Area to take on No. 4 Stanford (13-2, 4-0) Friday night at 7:00 and No. 5 California (14-1, 4-0) Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Arizona is coming off a loss, during a trip to No. 12 Colorado State and a home win over Arizona State.                             


Scouting the Opposition:

Stanford- The No. 4 Cardinal (13-2, 4-0) have won nine straight matches and have yet to drop a set in conference play (12-0). Stanford has won 27 of their last 28 sets and has only dropped six sets all season. Led by senior middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo, who is the Pac-10’s active career leader in kills and blocks, the Cardinal are one of just two conference teams that are undefeated in league play. Stanford leads the conference in hitting percentage (.332), paced by Akinradewo with a .452 clip and she is also second in the conference in blocks with 1.29 per set.

California - The No. 5 Golden Bears (14-1, 4-0) have also won nine straight matches, including  23 straight sets. Cal’s only loss this season came at Illinois. The Bears are on a current 13-match, home court winning streak. The team leads the conference in kills (15.02 per set) and assists (13.96 per set) behind junior Hana Cutura with 4.45 kills per set and sophomore Carli Lloyd at 12.04 assists per set.


Series History:

Stanford – The Wildcats have lost to the Cardinal more than any other school with a 7-49 overall record. Stanford has won  the last four, but the last Arizona win came in 2005 at Palo Alto, with the Cardinal ranked No. 4.

California – Arizona is 32-14 against the Golden Bears, but Cal has won five in a row, with the Wildcats last win coming in 2005 in Tucson, with Cal ranked No. 13.


Last Week:

Arizona @ No. 12 Colorado State: In front of more than 3,000 fans, the Wildcats fell to the No. 12 Rams in four sets, 25-20, 31-29, 25-22 and 25-19. Senior Brooke Buringrud and sophomore Tiffany Owens each recorded a double-double. Owens finished with 14 kills and 10 digs, while Buringrud ended with 12 kills and 13 digs. The loss was Arizona’s second to a ranked opponent in their last three contests.


Arizona State @ Arizona: Playing as a ranked team for the first time since 2005, the No. 25 Wildcats used a 45-15 run in the match’s last two sets to beat Arizona State 3-0. The win was the first over the in-state rivals since 2005. Senior Randy Goodenough provided a huge spark for Arizona off the bench. The outside hitter recorded five kills and five blocks to lead the Wildcats past the Sun Devils 25-23, 25-20, 25-10. Sophomore Stephanie Snow also played a major factor in the win. The middle blocker led the team to a season-high 15 blocks, adding nine block assists and one solo.


Double-Double X 2 – Senior Brooke Buringrud became just the second Wildcat to record a double-double in the year when she had 12 kills and 13 digs in the 3-1 loss to Colorado State. Buringrud was joined by sophomore Tiffany Owens, who recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 14 kills and 10 digs.


Don’t call it a comeback – Trailing 15-5 in the second set, the Arizona volleyball team went on a 20-5 run to comeback to beat in-state rival Arizona State 25-20 in the second set and 25-10 in the third. With no timeouts left, Arizona head coach Dave Rubio inserted redshirt freshman Kaylen Bannister, who immediately recorded a kill, with freshman Dana Hutchinson and senior Randy Goodenough to give the Wildcats life. In the 20-5 run, the Wildcats had a stretch of five straight block assists with sophomore Stephanie Snow being involved in all of them. To close out the match, Arizona outscored Arizona State 45-15.


Block party – The 2008 Wildcats have been a team known for their blocks. Arizona leads the Pac-10 in blocks-per-set with 2.89. Arizona recorded a season-high 15 blocks against ASU on Wednesday and recorded 13 team blocks in the 3-2 loss to Washington. Sophomore Stephanie Snow is fifth in the league in blocks with 1.26 per set, while Arizona is fourth in the nation in blocks (2.89 per set). Snow picked up a career-high 10 blocks in the 3-0 win over ASU.


Cover Paige –The sophomore setter has picked up where she left off in 2007. She leads the team in assists with 547 in 15  matches. She is fifth in the Pac 10 in assists per set. Weber is also third in the league in aces per serve at 0.40. The Sophomore setter added a season-high 47 assists in the loss to Colorado State. 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 160 kills and has been the team leader in kills in six of the team’s 15 matches,  including four out of the last six.


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 is 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 1,018.


Arizona’s place – The Wildcats sit first in the conference in opponents hitting percentage (.126),  fifth in hitting percentage (.244) and second in service aces (1.63 per set). Nationally the team is 4th in blocks per set, 40th in aces per set and 50th in hitting percentage.


Cats in the poll – As fast as Arizona showed up in the AVCA Top-25, they fell out. After being ranked for the first time since Sept. 11, 2006, the Wildcats dropped to No. 26 after their 3-1 loss at No. 12 Colorado State.


Pac-10 in the Top-25 – For the second week in a row, the Pac-10 has seven teams in the top-25 and eight in the top-26. With a win over USC, Oregon State moved into No. 24. Stanford led all Pac-10 teams at four, Cal came in at five, Oregon moved up to seventh, UCLA fell to eighth, Washington fell one spot to tenth and USC moved to 11th.


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.


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 314-178 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 436-244 career record.



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