The Arizona women's volleyball team (12-15, 3-12 Pac-10) travels to the Pacific Northwest to take on No. 2 Washington (22-3, 12-2 Pac-10) on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m., and Washington State (15-13, 3-11) on Friday, Nov. 17 at 6:30 p.m. (PST). Arizona is riding a two-match winning streak after defeating Oregon and Oregon State this past week at home, and looks to win three matches in a row for the first time since Sept. 8.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA:
Arizona won back-to-back Pac-10 matches for the first time this season with a weekend sweep of No. 24 Oregon and Oregon State. The Wildcats upset No. 24 Oregon on Thursday with a 3-2 win (29-31, 30-25, 26-30, 30-23, 15-8), snapping a season-long seven match losing streak. Arizona followed the win with a 3-0 sweep (30-27, 30-18, 30-24) of Oregon State on Friday night.
On the season, sophomore Brooke Buringrud leads the team with 3.56 kills per game, 0.35 service aces per game, and is second on the team with 2.53 digs per game. Freshman Whitney Dosty posts 3.38 kills per game, and junior Dominique Lamb adds 2.52 kills per game, a team-high .333 hitting percentage, and a team-best 1.62 blocks per game average. Sophomore libero Brittany Leonard averages a team-high 3.88 digs per game.
As a team, Arizona is hitting .179 on the season, averaging 14.10 kills per game, and a Pac-10 best 3.52 blocks per game.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
Washington - The University of Washington Huskies (22-3, 12-2 Pac-10) enter Thursday's match ranked second in the nation. UW has won 10-straight matches, and is a perfect 11-0 at home this season. The Huskies beat Arizona 3-1 (30-21, 30-20, 24-30, 30-26) on Oct. 20. As a team, Washington is No. 1 in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage with a .305 clip, a mark that is second in the nation. UW is also the Pac-10 leader with 16.53 assists per game, and kills per game (17.45). Individually, the Huskies are led by sophomore Jessica Swarbrick, who is third in the Pac-10 with a .432 hitting percentage, and junior Alesha Deesing, who ranks fourth in the Pac-10 with a .412 hitting percentage. Junior Christal Morrison is second in the Pac-10 with a 4.71 kills per game average, and senior Courtney Thompson is the nation's leader with 15.01 assists per game.
Washington State - The Washington State University Cougars (15-13, 3-11 Pac-10) enter Friday's matchup with Arizona dropping five of their last six matches. The Cougs beat the Cats 3-1 (26-30, 30-22, 30-26, 30-26) on Oct. 19 in McKale Center. As a team, WSU hits .205, and averages 15.39 kills, 2.82 blocks, 17.86 digs (second in the Pac-10), and 1.32 service aces per game. Sophomore Brittany Johnson leads the Cougars with a 3.89 kills per game average.
Washington - Thursday's matchup with No. 2 UW will mark the 46th meeting between the Wildcats and the Huskies. Arizona leads the all-time series 25-20, but has dropped seven of the last eight matches to Washington, with the Wildcats only win during that span coming at home in 2003. UW knocked UA in four games on Oct. 20. Arizona last beat the Huskies in Seattle in 2002, but UW has swept the Wildcats in the last two meetings in Bank of America Arena.
Washington State - Friday's match will be the 62nd all-time meeting between the Cougs and the Cats. Arizona leads the series with WSU with a mark of 49-12. Arizona won five-consecutive matches against the Cougars before losing to WSU at home on Oct. 19. Arizona has won 15 of the last 18 in the series.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10 AND NCAA:
Junior Dominique Lamb ranks second in the Pac-10 and 12th nationally in blocks (1.62), and ranks sixth in the Pac-10 with a .333 hitting percentage. Senior Stephanie Butkus is seventh in the conference in assists (11.35), while sophomore Brooke Buringrud is third in service aces (0.35). Freshman Jacy Norton is third in the conference in blocks (1.52), and sophomore Brittany Leonard is ninth in the Pac-10 in digs (3.88 dpg).
The Wildcats have excelled this season at providing plenty of rejections at the net, as Arizona ranks first in the Pac-10 Conference and second in the nation with 3.52 blocks per game. Arizona has posted double-digit team stuffs in 12 of its last 13 matches, and 20 of its last 22 matches. Against Stanford on Oct. 28, the Wildcats had their streak of eight-consecutive matches with double-digit blocks snapped with a total of 8.0 blocks. Arizona had a season-high 21 blocks against Arizona State on Sept. 22 and nearly matched that figure against UCLA on Oct. 6 and Cal on Oct. 27 when it finished with 20. Arizona finished with 19.0 blocks against USC, and had 19.0 blocks against Oregon on Thursday night. In 27 matches played this year, UA has finished with 10 or more blocks 22 times.
AW KITTY KITTY:
The Wildcats were pretty sharp from the net this past week, totaling a .264 (126-44-311) hitting percentage in two matches against Oregon and Oregon State. That mark is the highest two-match hitting percentage the Wildcats have posted in Pac-10 play this season. Arizona hit .284 (79-27-183) against Oregon, and .234 (47-17-128) against Oregon State. Arizona's mark of .284 against the Ducks is the third-highest mark for the Cats this season.
Junior middle blocker Dominique Lamb is working her way up the block charts at UA. With 358 total stuffs, Lamb is now seventh all-time at Arizona, and needs two more blocks to move past Stephanie Murry (1984-87, 359) for sixth all-time. Her current career average of 1.30 blocks per game places her second in school history behind only Kelly Waage (1.43). Lamb's 358 total blocks is currently third among all active Pac-10 players.
Freshman Whitney Dosty delivered when Arizona needed a big performance this past week, helping to led the Wildcats to back-to-back Pac-10 wins for the first time this season. Against No. 24 Oregon on Thursday night, the Tucson, Ariz., native posted a career-best 29 kills on a .365 (29-6-63) hitting percentage, as she became the first Wildcat this season to break the 20-kill plateau.
Against Oregon State on Friday, Dosty finished with 13 kills and five blocks. For the week, Dosty finished with a team-best 42 kills and a .269 (42-13-108) hitting percentage.
On the season, Dosty is averaging 3.38 kills a game.
DYCK IN A NEW ROLE:
After spending the majority of last season as the starting setter for Arizona, junior Amy Dyck finds herself in a new position. The Sandpoint, Idaho, playing opposite, is averaging 1.25 digs and 1.25 kills a game. Against Tennessee Tech, Dyck posted career highs of 14 kills and 17 digs.
LEONARD AT LIBERO:
As a freshman last season, Brittany Leonard set the Arizona single season record for digs per game at 3.70. In 27 matches this year, the sophomore is averaging a team-best 3.88 digs per game.
NORTON AT THE NET:
With the loss of MB Kristina Baum for the year, the Wildcats needed someone to step up, and freshman Jacy Norton has been that player. In the 20 matches since Baum went down with her knee injury, Norton is averaging 1.54 blocks per game, 1.71 kills and is hitting at a .229 clip, numbers that are very similar to Baum's prior to her injury (1.00 BPG, 1.59 KPG, .237 hitting percentage)
Arizona's last trip to the Pacific Northwest (Oct. 12-13) was a huge week for individual milestones. Against Oregon State, sophomore Brooke Buringrud tallied 13 kills in route to her 250th career kill, and posted four blocks for the 40th of her career. Senior Stephanie Butkus posted her 3,500th career assist against the Beavers, and later earned her 600th dig against Washington State the following week. Freshman Whitney Dosty posted 10 kills against OSU on the way to the 200th kill in her career, while junior Katie Jackels notched her 275th career dig in Corvallis, Ore. Junior Dominique Lamb tallied the 300th block of her career, her 425th career kill, and now owns 101 digs in her career. Sophomore libero Brittany Leonard now has 727 career digs, and classmate Randy Goodenough posted the 100th kill in her career against the Beavers and now owns 85 career blocks.
Arizona has dropped out of the Top 25 for the first time since the end of the 2003 season. Arizona has a long tradition in the top 25, having been listed in 120 of the last 138 polls, dating back to the 1998 season. The previous nine-week lapse occurred during the 2003 season.
Head Coach Dave Rubio boasts a 230-156 record (.596) in 15 seasons at the helm of the Wildcat program. Last year, he not only became the winningest coach in Arizona history, but he notched his 400th career victory in the team's win over Ohio in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. In 20 years as a head coach, Rubio has a 412-222 (.650) record.
BUTKUS BECOMES FOURTH PLAYER TO REACH 3,000:
When she dished out her 3,000th career assist at Louisville on Sept. 2, senior Stephanie Butkus became just the fourth Wildcat ever to surpass the plateau. If she continues at her current pace, Butkus would finish her career with nearly 4,000 assists, good for third place all-time behind assistant coach Dana Burkholder and Laura Bartsch. Butkus is currently third among active Pac-10 setters with 3,887 total assists, a figure that places her third all-time at Arizona. What's more impressive about her numbers is the fact that she missed the majority of last season with a knee injury.
LAMB GOES 4-FOR-4 WITH ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS:
After going two years without being picked, junior Dominique Lamb went a perfect 4-for-4 this season on all-tournament team selections. In the first week of the season, during the Arizona Invitational, she averaged 2.20 kills, 1.60 blocks, 0.50 digs and 0.40 service aces over the three matches. At Louisville's Courtyard by Marriott Airport East Classic, the middle blocker posted averages of 3.27 kills, 0.73 blocks and 0.45 service aces. At the Four Points Sheraton Wildcat Classic, Lamb averaged 2.91 kills and 2.09 blocks. Last weekend, at Northwestern's Wildcat Classic, she hit a team-best .438 and averaged 2.92 kills and 1.33 blocks per game.
A BUMMER FOR BAUMER:
Senior middle blocker Kristina Baum will miss the remainder of the 2006 season after injuring her right knee in the first game of Arizona's Sept. 8 match against Bradley. Baum, who will attempt to regain her senior year through either a redshirt season or a medical hardship, has racked up 610 career kills in 98 matches played at Arizona. She has hit .275 during her career and averaged 1.83 kills, 1.45 digs and 0.69 blocks per game.
BIG SHOES TO FILL:
With the graduation of all-time kills leader and three-time All-American Kim Glass, third-team All-American Jennifer Abernathy and four-time All-Pac-10 selection Bre Ladd, Arizona lost a considerable amount of not only its offense, but its defense, as well. The trio accounted for 71 percent of last year's service aces, 70 percent of the kills and 46 percent of the team's digs.
As always, Arizona faces a tough schedule this season. The Wildcats play 14 matches against nine teams that competed in last year's NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats also face six teams (California, Louisville, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington) that were ranked in the Top 25 in the preseason AVCA/CSTV Coaches Poll. The Pac-10 schedule will again be difficult as the conference continues to show its dominance. Last year, six Pac-10 teams competed in the NCAA Tournament and all six advanced to the second round. Three teams advanced to the Sweet 16, two to the Elite Eight and Washington won the national championship.
With Washington capturing the NCAA title last season, the Pac-10 has now won five consecutive national championships (Washington in 2005, Stanford in 2004 and 2001, USC in 2003 and 2002), including the last three by three different teams. Pac-10 teams have claimed 13 of the sport's 25 NCAA championships.
Arizona travels to Tempe, Ariz., to take on arch-rival Arizona State in the regular-season finale on Friday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m.