Sept. 9, 2008
The Arizona volleyball team (5-1, 0-0 Pac-10) goes on the road for the first time in 2008 to play in the CSU Bakersfield Invitational. The Wildcats open the tournament Friday, Sept. 12th against Chicago State at 4:30 p.m. The team continues play Saturday, Sept. 13th with two games. They start the day with a noon contest against Fresno State, then they close out the tournament with a 7 p.m. game against host CSU Bakersfield. The Wildcats have opened the season with six tournament games and continue with the CSU Bakersfield Invitational this weekend and the University of Houston Tournament next weekend.
Friday, Sept. 12
Chicago State at CSUB noon
Arizona vs. Chicago State 4:30 p.m.
Fresno State at CSUB 7:00 p.m
Saturday, Sept. 13
Arizona vs. Fresno State noon
Fresno State vs. Chicago State 4:30 p.m.
Arizona at CSUB 7:00 p.m.
Scouting the Opposition:
Chicago State- The Cougars are winless in their first seven matches and have yet to take a set against their opponents, going 0-21. The team has a .033 hitting percentage on the season and have been outscored 525-290 on the year. Chicago State is led by Shamara Clark who leads the team with 37 kills and has played in all 21 sets.
Fresno State – The Bulldogs come into this tournament at 2-4 with a match already against CSU Bakersfield in which they won 3-2. The team is in the middle of playing nine straight road matches. Fresno State was chosen to finish eighth in the WAC preseason poll. The team is led by Brianna Clarke and Tairyn Rasmussen who are one-two in kills with 69 and 65 respectively.
CSU Bakersfield- The Roadrunners are 3-4 on the year after a pretty tough early schedule playing Kansas State and Ohio State. CSUB has out-hit its opponents in both kills and hitting percentage and are led by Rosemary Stribling and Sarah Norman who lead the team in kills with 90 and 84.
Chicago State – This will be the first meeting between the Wildcats and Cougars. Arizona plays four teams in 2008 they have never faced before in school history, this will be the third. The Wildcats beat Gardner-Webb and Texas State earlier in the year in those schools’ first match up.
Fresno State – Arizona is 7-1 against the Bulldogs in eight meetings. The Wildcats and Fresno State meet for the first time since 2005 where Arizona won 3-1 in Santa Clara. The meeting between these two schools goes back to 1979 where Arizona also won 2-0.
CSU Bakersfield – This will be just the third time and second since head coach Dave Rubio took over the Arizona program that the Wildcats and Roadrunners have met. The last time was last season with the Wildcats prevailing 3-0, but the first time the team’s met, Rubio was on the other sideline and beat the host Wildcats 3-2 in 1991. The next season Rubio became the head coach at Arizona and has built the team into a national contender.
Arizona Invitational Recap:
Arizona finished 2-1 and placed second behind Santa Clara in the tournament. The Wildcats won seven of the 10 games they played in, only dropping three to Santa Clara. They outscored their opponents 238-202. The team placed two players on the All-Tournament Team including outside hitter Tiffany Owens and middle blocker Stephanie Snow. From Santa Clara, Brittany Lowe was named MVP and Tanya Schmidt and Nina Sevastopoulos also made the squad. Hayley Ball made it from Texas Tech and Texas State’s Emily Jones-Wilkes was placed on the team. In all, Arizona finished 2-1, Santa Clara went 3-0, Texas State 1-2 and Texas Tech ended 0-3.
Texas Tech vs. Arizona - The Wildcats closed out the invitational with a 3-0 win over the Red Raiders. The team finished with a hitting percentage of .352 recording 47 kills and just 16 attack errors. The .352 hitting percentage was the Wildcats highest of the season and they were led by senior Brooke Buringrud who came off the bench to lead the team with 11 kills and a .643 hitting percentage. Arizona won all three sets 25-17, 25-21, and 25-17.
Santa Clara vs. Arizona – In front of the biggest crowd in McKale in 2008, Arizona lost its first match of the season 3-1 to Santa Clara. Arizona won the first set 26-24, but dropped the final three 25-19, 25-23 and 25-20. The Wildcats struggled against the Broncos with a season high 31 attack errors .Tiffany Owens led the Wildcats with a season-high 15 kills and Alanna Resch added a season-high 19 digs. Santa Clara’s Brittany Lowe led all hitters with 18 kills.
Texas State vs. Arizona – To open the Arizona Invitational Friday morning the Wildcats beat Texas State 3-0 and played one of their best matches of the season. Arizona beat the Bobcats 25-12, 25-21, 25-14. Arizona committed just 13 attack errors and came in with a .308 hitting percentage. Winning all three sets, Arizona opened the season with 12 straight set wins.
The real T.O. - Sophomore outside hitter Tiffany Owens recorded her second double-double of the season with 15 kills and 14 digs against Santa Clara. She also had the team’s first double-double in the team’s first game. Owens had 11 kills and 12 digs in the Wildcats 3-0 win over Weber State. Owens has led the Wildcats in three of their six games in kills and was digs leader in two games. She is currently second on the team in kills and digs with 51 and 47 respectively.
Cover Paige – Arizona sophomore setter Paige Weber has picked up where she left off in 2007. She leads the team in assists with 200 in six matches. That is good enough for fifth in the Pac 10 in assists per game and the 45th best average in the nation. Weber is also fifth in the league in aces per serve at 0.47.
Snow Days - The sophomore middle blocker had her best weekend as a Wildcat in last weekend’s Arizona Invitational. The Tempe-native was named to the all-tournament team with career-highs in kills with 10 and attempts with 22, both against Santa Clara. She also added 11 blocks on the weekend. Snow sits at eighth in the conference in hitting percentage at .366.
Arizona’s place – The Wildcats sit fifth in the conference in hitting percentage (.252), second in opponents hitting percentage (.098), third in kills (13.84 per set), second in blocks (2.95 per set), second in service aces (1.79 per set) and fifth in digs (13.26 per set). Nationally the team is 12th in blocks per set and 35th in kills per set.
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.
2008 award winners - Last weekend 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.
‘Cats in the poll – Arizona showed up in the AVCA Coaches poll in the Others Receiving Votes category for the second straight week. The Wildcats were the 37th team on the list with 3 points. Arizona’s point total fell from 32 to three between the two weeks.
Pac-10 in the Top-25 – After opening the season with six teams in the top-11, the Pac-10 now has six teams in the top-12. Cal is the top team at four, UCLA is at five, USC is at six, Stanford at seven, Washington at nine and Oregon at 12.
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.
2007 in the record books:
Sophomore Paige Weber collected 1330 saves last season which was the eighth highest assists total for a year. She also averaged 12.13 assists per game, which was good enough for seventh all-time.
Junior Alanna Resch also put herself in the record books with 3.38 digs per game. That placed Resch fifth on the list and behind current senior Brittany Leonard’s 2005 total of 3.70 and 2006 total of 3.84, which is tops in program history.
2007 award winners:
Sophomore Tiffany Owens was named to the 2007 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team and former Wildcat Dominique Lamb was selected to the All-Pac-10 honorable mention.
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.
Arizona will be faced with the challenge of playing some of the best teams in the country in 2007. The Wildcats will participate in four non-conference tournaments before competing in the Pac-10 Conference. Arizona will face nine teams this season that participated in the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Matchups with Colorado State, Santa Clara and Texas State highlight a tough non-conference slate that will prepare the Wildcats for the ever difficult Pac-10 which features last season’s national runner-up Stanford and two other Final Four teams in Cal and USC.
Head coach Dave Rubio boasts a 307-176 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 429-242 career record.