Aug. 28, 2001
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Coming Attractions: The defending Pac-10 Co-Champion Arizona volleyball team returns to action with a 1,700 mile road trip to Gainesville, Fla., where it will participate in Florida's SunTrust Invitational Aug. 31-Sept.1. The Cats will take on South Florida and Marshall on the opening day of the invitational and then meet up with ninth-ranked Florida on Sept. 1. All four teams playing in the invitational will see action for the first time in 2001.
The Opposition: SOUTH FLORIDA - The Bulls return to action after a first round appearance in the 2000 NCAA Tournament. USF returns three starters and nine letterwinners from a season ago. The 2000 Conference USA regular season champs received 17 votes in the 2001 USA Today/AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll. Their 28-6 regular season record from 2000 matched the school mark for wins in a season. The match with Arizona will be the second in the history of the two schools. Arizona defeated USF in the only other match-up in 1999. MARSHALL - The Thundering Herd return four starters and 10 letterwinners from last season's 4-27 team. The 2000 campaign marked the first time Marshall had missed the postseason since joining the MAC in 1997. The Aug. 31 match will be the first between the two schools. FLORIDA - Meeting Arizona for the second season in a row, but just the third time overall, the ninth-ranked Gators are looking to avenge last season's five-game loss in Tucson. Florida appeared to be on its way to an easy victory , winning the first two games in McKale Center. However, the host Wildcats took the next three games in a thrilling match to steal the victory. The Gators advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament in 2000 after going undefeated in the SEC and winning their 11th consecutive conference title. UF will have plenty of experience in 2001 as five starters and 10 letterwinners return. Arizona has a 2-0 lifetime record against Florida.
The Polls: The Arizona volleyball team was voted sixth in the preseason edition of the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll. The ranking is the highest preseason mark in school history bettering last season's previous best of 10th. Volleyball Magazine places the Cats ninth in its preseason poll.
Pac-10 Coaches Poll: The Pac-10 coaches have picked Arizona to finish third in the conference standings in 2001. The Wildcats, who were picked to finish fourth last season, enter the 2001 season as the co-defending conference champions. 2001 marks the first time the Cats have had an opportunity to defend the title in school history.
Outlook for 2001: The Wildcats return four starters from last seasons's team. All-American setter Dana Burkholder, right-side hitter Jill Talbot, outside hitter Lisa Rutledge and defensive specialist Rachel Williams all return to the floor for the Cats in 2001. Joining them in the starting rotation will be middle blockers Erin Sebbas and Stefani Saragosa and outside hitter Shannon Torregrosa. The loss of NCAA hitting percentage leader and All-Pac-10 middle blocker Marisa DaLee is significant, but will be offset by the return of Saragosa, who played in 30 of Arizona's 33 matches last season with an ailing shoulder that has been surgically repaired, and the spring emergence of Sebbas. Coach Rubio is counting on Torregrosa to have a breakout season in the outside hitter spot vacated by the departure of All-Pac-10 performer Allison Napier. Others returning players that are expected to see extensive floor time are defensive specialists Linda McCullagh and Christina Frost and setter/right side hitter Lauren Benward.
Arizona has also added a number of newcomers that the coaching staff figure will see playing time, including setter Rochelle Ruen, right side hitter Kellie Burton and defensive specialist Kelli Mulvany.
Starting Lineup Possibilities
Setter - Dana Burkholder
Right Side- Jill Talbot
Outside - Lisa Rutledge/Shannona Torregrosa
Middle Blocker- Stefani Saragosa/Erin Sebbas
Defensive Specialist- Rachel Williams/Linda McCullagh/Christina Frost
A Look Back: The 2000 season was one of the finest in school history. The Wildcats finished the season 28-5, matching the school record for wins in a season. 20 of Arizona's 28 victories were 3-0 sweeps and of Arizona's five losses only one was in three game, two were in four games and two went all five. Arizona was an outstanding 14-1 in home matches, 11-2 on the road and 3-2 in neutral court contests.
They advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, the deepest an Arizona team has ever gone.
UA won its first Pac-10 title, sharing it with USC. 2000 marked the first time a team other than UCLA or Stanford had won the Pac-10 championship since conference play began in 1986. The 16-2 Pac-10 record shattered the school record for conference wins by four.
Individually, returning setter Dana Burkholder became one of the most recognized athletes in school history. She was named both AVCA and Volleyball Magazine First-Team All-America (the first, first-team member since 1985), to the NCAA Central Region All-Tournament Team, the Pac-10 Player of the Year, First-Team All-Pac-10 and AVCA All-Pacific Region. She set numerous school records, including single-match (84), single-season (1,562) and career marks (4,068) for assists, while guiding the Arizona offense to a NCAA Division I leading .320 attack percentage, the best in school history and the second-best ever in the Pac-10.
Departed seniors Marisa DaLee and Allison Napier, both 1,000 career kill members, each tallied First-Team All-Pac-10 honors. Giving the Cats three for the season, the most in any single year. DaLee led the nation in hitting percentage (.437) and was also named AVCA All-Pacific Region.
Jill Talbot and Lisa Rutledge, who both return in 2001, each garnered Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 honors as well.
2000 Pac-10 Coach of the Year David Rubio: In nine years as Arizona's head coach, David Rubio has taken the Cats from the abyss of a winless Pac-10 season to the pinnacle of a conference championship.
Inheriting a team that did not win a single match in the conference the year before he arrived, he has turned the Wildcats into a club that has made seven postseason appearances in eight years, won a Pac-10 Championship and 11 NCAA Tournament matches.
Rubio has recruited and coached two All-Americans, the 2000 Pac-10 Player of the Year, 13 All-Pac-10 performers, six All-Pac-10 freshman players and eight academic all-conference athletes at Arizona. Also, UA athletes have earned 13 Pac-10 Player of the Week honors under his guide.
During his tenure at Arizona, Rubio has led the Wildcats to 172 victories and a winning league mark over the last eight seasons. Last year's 16-2 Pac-10 record smashed the school mark for conference victories.
Closing in on 300: Head coach David Rubio is closing in on his 300th career coaching victory. The 10th year Arizona coach needs only eight more wins for the milestone. Rubio has amassed 172 wins at Arizona and an additional 120 in five seasons at CSU Bakersfield
Arizona in Season Openers: The Wildcats stumbled out of the block last season losing its first match in five games to UC Santa Barbara. However, UA recovered quickly and proceeded to win a school record 14 straight matches in a row. Since 1977 the Wildcats are 17-7 (.708) in season openers and are 6-3 (1992-Present) under Coach Rubio.
Year Result Opponent Score
1977 L NAU 0-2
1978 L CSU Fullerton 0-2
1979 W BYU 3-1
1980 W New Mexico St. 3-1
1981 W New Mexico St. 3-0
1982 W Utah 3-1
1983 L New Mexico 1-3
1984 W New Mexico 3-0
1985 W Utah 3-1
1986 L BYU 0-3
1987 W New Mexico 3-0
1988 W New Mexico St. 3-0
1989 W Idaho State 3-1
1990 W BYU-Hawai'i 3-0
1991 W Miami (Ohio) 3-1
1992 W Pepperdine 3-0
1993 L Pepperdine 0-3
1994 L Pacific 1-3
1995 W Missouri 3-0
1996 W NAU 3-0
1997 W Oklahoma 3-1
1998 W San Diego St. 3-0
1999 W UTEP 3-0
2000 L UCSB 2-3
Rule Changes in 2001: Gone from the rule book is the first to 15 with sideouts. Into play is the faster paced "rally scoring". In a departure from the previous scoring format, a team may score a point whether it is the serving or receiving team, there are no longer "sideouts" in which the service receiving teams cannot score. Simply stated, every time the ball is put in play, each team will have an opportunity to score.
Now, in order for a team to win a non-deciding game (the first four games of the match) it must be the first to reach 30 points and lead by at least two using rally scoring. In a match deciding game (the fifth game of the match) the first team to reach 15, again in rally scoring format (i.e. no sideouts), and lead by two or more points is the winner of that game.
Another change is that served balls that touch the net and continue on to the opponent's side will remain in play. Balls that strike the net and fall on the serving team's side or out of play will result in a point for the opposition. Previously, any ball that struck the net on a serve was ruled dead and resulted in a side-out.
The final change deals with a ball played outside of the antenna. When an attacking team hits a ball that crosses over the midcourt/netline outside of the antenna, a teammate may legally pursue the ball and pass it back to the attacking side, provided that the ball is played outside the antenna and it does not pass over the antenna or the net in the process of the pass. The attacking team will then have an opportunity to continue the play and rally.