No. 25 Arizona heads to Santa Clara

Sept. 8, 2009

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Santa Clara Invitational

Thursday, Sept. 10 / Friday, Sept. 11 | 7:00 p.m. | Leavey Center (4,500)
No. 25 Arizona (6-0, 0-0 Pac-10) at Santa Clara (4-2, 0-0 WCC) / vs. Utah (5-2, 0-0 MWC)


This Week: No. 25 Arizona volleyball travels to the Bay Area this week to take on Santa Clara and Utah in the SCU Invitational in Santa Clara, Calif.  The Cats take to the road for the second time this season.  They opened their season by winning the Sheraton Riverside Cardinal Classic, besting Louisville, Belmont and Pittsburgh. The Wildcats will play host Santa Clara on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Utah on Friday at 7 p.m.


Last time out: Arizona won the Wildcat Classic presented by Marriott Tucson University Park in its first home tournament of the 2009 season. On Friday, Arizona topped both Nevada and Houston in straight sets. The Cats then came back and beat Eastern Washington to remain unbeaten in the 2009 season.  Junior setter Paige Weber was named Tournament MVP and Dana Hutchinson and Whitney Dosty received ‘All-Tournament’ selections.  In 20 total sets played, Arizona has gone 18-2.


In the rankings:  The Wildcats were ranked No. 25 in the AVCA’s latest poll Monday.  It’s the first top-25 selection for Arizona during the early 2009 season.  Arizona last found itself in the top-25 last season during week eight of the 2008 season. 


Scouting this week’s opposition:

Utah - One week after being ranked No. 17 in the AVCA’s poll, the Utes are just below Arizona, receiving 75 total votes to lead others.  Last week while playing in the Utah Valley’s La Quinta Inn & Suites Invite, Utah lost to both Utah Valley and Washington State before topping Missouri in four sets.  The Utes were lauded to win the Mountain West Conference for the 2009 season.


Santa Clara - Last weekend, the Broncos held on to win the Sac State Invitational over the host Hornets, 3-2.  Santa Clara, which began the 2009 season ranked at No. 25, holds a record of 4-2 and received 16 votes in the AVCA’s Sept. 7 poll. The Broncos have to be commended for playing a tough opening season tournament, falling to No. 8 UCLA and No. 6 Hawaii before notching its first won over Western Michigan. Arizona looks to avoid deja vu as Santa Clara handed the Cats its first loss of the season a year ago in 2008.  


Series History:

Santa ClaraThe Wildcats and Broncos have met eight times in series history with each team winning four matches apiece.  Arizona looks to take back the upper hand after falling to Santa Clara a season ago.


UtahIn seventeen all-time meetings, Arizona currently holds a 13-4 advantage over the Utes.  The teams first met in 1977 and have played semi-regularly, lasting meeting in 2005 NCAA Tournament.    


Last Head-to-Head:

Arizona vs. Santa Clara -- Sept. 5, 2008 in Tucson, Ariz. – The Wildcats played four close games with the visiting Broncos but could muster only one set win, the first. Scores ended 24-26, 25-19, 25-23 and 25-20. Santa Clara out hit the Wildcats with a .241 hitting percentage compared to Arizona’s .128.  Arizona sophomore Tiffany Owens led the team with 15 kills followed by Whitney Dosty with 12 and Stephanie Snow with 10. As a team, the Wildcats committed 31 attack errors compared to just 17 by the Broncos and that doomed them.

Santa Clara’s Brittany Lowe led all players with 18 kills and added 10 digs for a double-double.


NCAA Tournament Second Round -- No. 6 Arizona vs. Utah – Dec. 3, 2005 in Salt Lake City, Utah – Behind an outstanding effort by junior Kristina Baum, the No. 4-seeded Arizona volleyball team advanced to the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002 with a four-game (30-27, 30-26, 28-30, 30-27) victory over host Utah Saturday night at Crimson Court.


Seven in a row?: Arizona has begun a season by winning seven straight four times in its storied history; 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2001.  In each of those four seasons, Arizona has at least earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament.  In 1998, Arizona got off to its best ever start, beginning the year 10-0. That team ultimately lost to No. 1 Long Beach State in the NCAA Tournament.


Head Coach Dave Rubiois in his 18th season as head coach of Arizona.  In that time span, Rubio has a record of 327-189.  Rubio also boasts a career record of 449-255 in 23+ career years.  In the last ten seasons, Rubio has guided the Wildcats to five Sweet 16s, four Elite Eights and to Arizona’s first-ever Final Four. His teams have won over 200 matches during this ten-year stretch, including 16 in the NCAA Tournament, which is six more than the previous 14 postseason teams combined.  Rubio and the Wildcats finished above .500 in 2008 with the Wildcats posting a 16-14 record, just missing the NCAA tournament. Arizona pulled off three upset wins over top-11 teams, including No. 11 USC, No. 8 Oregon and No. 6 Cal.


Wildcat MVP: This past weekend junior setter Paige Weber garnered Most Valuable Player of the Wildcat Classic presented by Marriott Tucson University Park.  Weber posted 97 assists in the Cats’ three wins over Nevada, Houston and Eastern Washington, respectively.  No. 34 has an assist-to-serve ratio of 10.5 over Arizona’s six matches so far.


Banner Match: Redshirt sophomore Kaylen Bannister had perhaps her best match Friday morning against Nevada. The budding middle blocker from Frankfurt, Germany registered a career-high seven kills on 11 attempts.  Her .364 hitting percentage helped the Cats rout the Wolf Pack, 3-0.


Block, Assist: Senior Jacy Norton continues to be an irreplaceable middle blocker for the Wildcats. This weekend Norton led Arizona each match in total blocks.  Although she only has four solo blocks, the 6-4 veteran has assisted on 21 blocks.  Against Nevada, Norton has two blocks followed by four blocks against both Houston and Eastern Washington. Through six matches, Norton has a team-best average of 1.39 blocks per set.


“Winning Ugly”: Even though Arizona only managed to hit .210 against Eastern Washington, it came away victorious and also pulled off impressively sweeping all three Wildcat Classic opponents before the Eagles forced a fourth set.  The Cats won’t care necessarily if the stats look good as long as they continue to win.


Dynamic Duo: Tiffany Owens and Dana Hutchinson have been quite the one-two punch for Arizona early on.  The pair are first and second respectively in kills, attempts and digs.  Hutchinson also leads the team in service aces with eight while Owens tops the charts in solo blocks with five. Lastly Hutchinson and Owens make up 6.50 kills per set for the Wildcats.


Wildcat Classic Honors:  Junior setter Paige Weber nabbed MVP honors for this past weekend’s Wildcat Classic by Marriott Tucson University Park.  Weber totaled 97 assists through three matches as Arizona went 3-0.  Whitney Dosty and Jacy Norton were All-Tournament selections for the stellar play as well.  Last weekend in Louisville, it was Tiffany Owens garnering MVP and Dana Hutchinson and Weber receiving All-Tournament status.


Daily Wildcat POW: Following a week where she was named Pac-10 Player of the Week, the student daily also found it fit to name Tiffany Owens its Player of the Week.  Through two weeks, Owens leads the team in kills, digs, total attempts and solo blocks.


Is it 55 or 12?: Whether its Stephanie Snow or Jacy Norton leading the middle blocking for Arizona, the two are getting the job done. The on-court look-a-likes tower above most competition and have tallied a combined 32 total blocks.


21 coming along:  Junior Whitney Dosty has been slowly increasing her output through the first six matches of the season.  The Salpointe Catholic High product led Arizona with 12 kills against Eastern Washington and nabbed ‘All-Tournament’ selections with Jacy Norton and MVP Paige Weber 


Sophomore Trio:  As Dana Hutchinson has assumed a starting position and is currently second on the team with 60 kills, fellow soph’s Courtney Karst and Kaylen Bannister are contributing nicely as well.  Look for Karst and Bannister to receive additional court time as the Cats get deeper into the schedule and face longer matches.


Moore sees PT:  Redshirt freshman Tori Moore received her first significant amount of playing time against Eastern Washington on Saturday.  In the third set, the Brea, Calif. native handed out five assists while filling in.


Lone Newcomer: Freshman Ellen Querrey is Arizona’s only newcomer for 2009.  A native of Thousand Oaks, Calif., Querrey played for the Sportsshack club team and Thousand Oaks High School.  The outside hitter will look to learn for veterans Whitney Dosty and Tiffany Owens.


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 42 points in the vote, as defending champion Stanford was third with Washington being the preseason favorite.  The Huskies claimed 90 points, 10 more than second-place Cal, including nine of the 10 first-place votes.  Cal was the only other team to receive a first-place vote. UCLA fell into fourth with 62 points and USC was picked fifth with 60 points.  Oregon came in sixth with 48 points.  Rounding out the poll were Arizona State, Oregon State, and Washington State, respectively.


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