Wildcats Return to McKale

Oct. 27, 2009

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No. 18 Arizona vs. No. 5 Washington - 7 p.m., Friday

No. 18 Arizona vs. No. 21 WSU - 7 p.m., Saturday 

This Week: Coming off a disappointing weekend road trip in the Bay Area against California and Stanford, Arizona will look to right the ship against No. 5 Washington and No. 21 Washington State.  With the Pac-10 Conference very much up in the air, each passing weekend of play becomes that much more dire.  If the Wildcats look to keep pace, this weekend will be very telling.  Last weekend, Washington State knocked off first-place Washington to surprise some around the league.  In their previous meeting against the Washington schools in the Pacific Northwest this season, Arizona was swept by each.


Last time out:  Friday night, the Wildcats headed down Telegraph Blvd. to face No. 15 California in a match between two similar teams.  Unfortunately for Arizona, the team ran into Hana Cutura on a night when she went for a career-high 31 kills on 47 swings to lead Cal to the victory, three sets to one.  After getting a rare one-day lay over, before it faced Stanford, Arizona looked to regroup and rest up before facing the top-10 ranked Cardinal.  The added rest would not help however as Arizona lost in three sets for just the third time this year.  Whitney Dosty and Tiffany Owens had their usual dominant performances, but Arizona was unraveled by 10 serving errors and an inability to capture big points down the stretch.   


In the rankings:  Arizona continues to bounce around in the rankings, this week charting in at No. 18 overall, down two spots from the Oct. 19 polling.  It is the eighth consecutive poll in which the Wildcats have appeared after starting the season unranked.  With Washington State earning a ranking after taking down Washington Friday, the Pac-10 has eight teams ranked in the top-25 for the second time this season.  Washington is pegged at No. 5 while the Cougars come in at No. 21.


Scouting this week's opposition:

No. 5 Washington - The Huskies head to the desert after being topped by rival Washington State last Friday in four sets.  Currently in a first-place tie with No. 4 Stanford, Washington started the year 15-0 and didn't give up a set. Since then they've dropped two of four matches.  Libero Tamari Miyashiro leads Washington with an average of 5.24 digs per set.


No. 21 Washington State - The Cougs cracked the top-25 for the second time this season, with an upset victory over Washington.  WSU is currently tied in conference play with Cal with a 5-4 mark.  On the road Washington State is 4-3 compared to 10-1 while in the Palouse.  Like Arizona, the Cougars did not drop a non conference match.


Series History and Last Head-to-Head:

No. 18 Arizona vs. Washington State - Oct. 2, 2009 in Pullman, Washington. - In their last meeting with Washington State, the Wildcats fell behind 2-0 before leading set three 24-19.  That's when the wheels fell off as the Cougars rattled off seven consecutive points and sent Arizona away with their first 3-0 loss of the season.  Tiffany Owens tallied 18 kills and 11 digs while Arizona committed 27 total errors in the match.  In the all-time Pac-10 series, Arizona has a 33-14 edge but the Cougars have won the last two over UA.


Arizona vs. No. 3 Washington - Oct. 3, 2009 in Seattle, Washington. -- Playing No. 3 Washington at home in what maybe the most difficult road trip in the conference, Arizona was defeated 3-0.  The Cats hit for a season-low .094 and did not break 20 points in any of the three games.  In the all-time series, Washington leads Arizona, 25-22 with the Huskies on an 11-match win streak over the Cats. 


Head Coach Dave Rubio ...is in his 18th season as head coach of Arizona.  In that time span, Rubio has a record of 336-194 Rubio also boasts a career record of 458-257 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.


Halloween Spooktacular:  Before the Wildcats' home match against No. 5 Washington on Friday night, Club Arizona and the Student-Athlete Advisory committee will host a trick-or-treat event for youths K-12 on the plaza outside the Jim Click Hall of Champions.  This event will begin at 5:30p.m. and run until the start of the volleyball match at 7p.m.


Iron Woman: Not only has Paige Weber started all 82 matches in her career at Arizona, but the junior setter has also appeared in all 285 sets over that time span as well.  She is currently sixth in the conference with an assist to set ratio of 10.58.  She has 751 total assists this season and ranks No. 5 on the conference's active career assist chart.


Looking at the Charts:  Weber is currently in fifth place on the all-time Arizona assist board with 3,202.  With 315 additional assists she'll pass Heather McCormack (1989-92) and move into fourth.  Weber will possibly have an outside chance of catching all-time leader Dana Burkholder if she keeps up her pace and match streak.  Burkholder had 5,424 assists while playing under the old 30-point style.  


Bringing the Heat:  Whitney Dosty continues to provide Arizona with a capable scorer every night.  Over the weekend, she had 29 kills (4.14 kps). Dosty has now led Arizona in kills in each of the last four matches.  In Pac-10 play, Dosty is hitting .245 and has accounted for 104 points in 30 conference sets played.


Double-Double Owens: Although Tiffany may enjoy a good burger from In-n-Out, this note has to do with her prowess on both the offensive and defensive end.  Against Stanford, Owens recorded double figure kills and digs for the ninth time this season.  It has gotten to the point where when she doesn't put up those type of numbers, some believe something is off.  Owens, by far, is the team leader in the double-double category with nine, followed by Paige Weber and Dana Hutchinson with two apiece and Whitney Dosty with one.  Arizona has a record of 7-2 in matches where Owens has a double-double.


Check the Stat Sheet: After posting more kills and digs, one would think Arizona would gain the upper hand in just about every match.  Against Stanford however, the Wildcats committed a season-high 10 service errors, and combined with 17 attack errors, it wasn't a recipe for success as they were swept, 3-0.


Getting Some Burn: This past weekend against Cal and Stanford, the Wildcats used basically their entire lineup hoping to find the right combination to click.  Sophomores Kaylen Bannister and Dana Hutchinson, who had been receiving sporadic playing time, appeared in five out of the possible seven sets.  Courtney Karst, after putting up double-digit kills in four straight matches, came back to Earth, hitting for zero and only tallying three kills. 


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.


Up Next: Arizona takes to the road next week as it travels to Eugene to face Oregon and Corvalis to take on Oregon State.  Both match times will start at 7 p.m. PT.


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