Arizona host No. 9 Oregon and OSU

Nov. 18, 2008

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This Week: The Arizona volleyball team (14-12 4-10 Pac-10) returns to McKale for its final two home matches of 2008. The Wildcats face off against No. 8 Oregon (21-6, 9-5) on Friday at 7:00 p.m. and take on Oregon State (14-13, 3-11) Sunday at noon as part of Senior Day.

Scouting the Opposition:
Oregon- The No. 8 Ducks sit in fourth place in the Pac-10, trailing California by a game and leading USC by a game. Oregon is coming off a split of the Washington schools, beating Washington State, 3-0, while losing to Washington, 3-1. The Ducks are near the top of several statistic categories, including being first in services aces (1.46 per set), second in blocks (2.63 per set) and third in assists (13.36 per set). Katie Swoboda leads the conference in digs with 5.05 per set and is the current active leader in the league in career digs with 2,064. As a team, the Ducks have at least one person in the top-four of every major statistical category in the league.
Oregon State- The Beavers sit in eighth place in the conference tied with Arizona State and a game behind the Wildcats. Oregon State is coming off of a sweep at the hands of the Washington schools, falling to WSU 3-2 and UW 3-0. The Beavers have the conference leader in kills in Rachel Rourke, who is averaging 4.54 kills a set.

Series History:
Oregon – The Wildcats lead the all-time series against the Ducks 36-12. The 36 wins against Oregon are the second most for the Wildcats against any opponent, trailing their 54 wins against Washington State. The Ducks won the last meeting 3-0 and have won the last three contests.
Oregon State –Arizona leads the all-time series 34-12, but the Wildcats have dropped the last two meeting between the schools, including a 3-0 match in Corvallis earlier this season.

Last Head-to-Head:
Oregon - October 25, 2008 in Eugene, Ore.– The Wildcats struggled to just 33 kills in the 3-0 loss to the then No. 7 Ducks. Oregon outhit Arizona .304-.221 en route to a 25-20, 25-21 and 25-20 win. Both Gorana Maricic and Heather Myers led all players with 14 kills apiece, while the Wildcats didn’t have anyone in double-digits in kills.
Oregon State - October 24, 2008 in Corvallis, Ore. – Arizona and Oregon State battled back-and-fourth, but the then No. 24 Beavers prevailed 27-25, 25-21 and 25-19. Rachel Rourke lead all players with 25 kills and the Beavers outhit the Wildcats .197 - .124. Tiffany Owens recorded 14 kills for Arizona, while Alanna Resch added 22 digs.

Last Weekend:
Arizona @ No. 9 UCLA: The Wildcats dug an early hole and couldn’t get out of it against the host Bruins and fell 25-17, 25-18 and 25-22. This was Arizona’s eighth straight road loss. Randy Goodenough led all players with 13 kills and Paige Weber recorded a double-double with 31 assists and 10 digs in the loss.
Arizona @ No. 10 USC: Arizona continued its struggles on the road, falling to the Women of Troy 25-17, 25-19 and 25-16. Arizona recorded just 32 kills as a team and didn’t have a player record more than nine kills. USC outhit the Wildcats .299 - .098 on its way to avenging an earlier season loss to Arizona.

Resch Hour – Junior libero Alanna Resch added another 27 digs to her season total. That puts her per-set average at 4.09 for the season and would put her at the top of the single season digs per set list. Senior Brittany Leonard currently holds the record with 3.84 per set in 2006. Resch is also 63 digs behind Leonard in the most sets in a season category. Resch is at 348 compared to Leonard’s 2006 total of 411. Resch will have to average more than 15 digs per match through the team’s final four matches to top Leonard.

Cover Paige –The sophomore setter leads the team in assists with 920 in 26 matches and recorded a season-high 61 assists in the team’s win over USC. That mark was just two assists below her career-high of 63 set last season as a freshman against St. Mary’s. Weber recorded her third double-double of the year with 31 assists and 10 digs in the loss to UCLA over the weekend. Weber is eighth in the Pac 10 in assists per set at 10.22. She is also fourth in the league in aces per serve at 0.29. Weber has won two tournament MVP awards this season, one in the opening Wildcat Classic and one in the CSU Bakersfield Invitational.

The Real T.O. –Sophomore Tiffany Owens has been one of the most consistent players so far for Arizona. The outside hitter just overtook teammate Whitney Dosty for the team lead in kills with 253. She is averageing 2.98 a set and is second on the team in digs with 2.62 a set.

Part of being in the Pac – Arizona is in the middle of a stretch of playing 13 top-25 teams in 15 matches. With the strength of the Pac-10, the Wildcats play tough competition every week, including this week with No. 8 Oregon and previously ranked OSU.

Don’t Get Upset – Arizona pulled off it’s second upset of the season with a 3-2 win over then No. 6 Cal. It was the Wildcats second upset of the season over a ranked opponent, the first coming on Oct. 19th with a 3-2 win over then No. 11 USC. Arizona is now 2-810 against ranked opponents.

Bucking the Trend – Heading into their home match with Cal, the Wildcats had yet to win a contest in which they trailed their opponent in kills, hitting percentage, or digs. The Golden Bears topped Arizona in all three categories, yet Arizona still prevailed.  They are now 1-10 when trailing in kills, 1-9 when trailing in digs and 1-10 while trailing in hitting percentage.

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 tied for eighth on the career list. Leonard is still 251 digs from the career leader Terry Lauchner who has 1,297, while Leonard sits at 1,046.

Pac-10 in the Top-25 –The Pac-10 has six teams in the top-10. Stanford sits at the top at number two, Washington is five, Cal is seventh, Oregon eighth, UCLA ninth, USC 10th .

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. Two 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.

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-place 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 319-1857record 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 441-253 career record.


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