THIS WEEK: The No. 15 Arizona volleyball team travels to Santa Clara, Calif., for the Bronco Invitational this Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 8-10. The Wildcats open the tournament with a 4:30 p.m. match vs. No. 18 UC Santa Barbara on Thursday. On Friday, Arizona faces host and No. 25 Santa Clara at 7 p.m. The Wildcats close out the tournament with a 12:30 p.m. match against Fresno State on Saturday.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA: For the second year in a row, Arizona captured the championship of the Four Points University Plaza Wildcat Classic. The Wildcats swept through the opposition, defeating Winthrop (30-20, 30-22, 30-21), No. 20 Georgia Tech (30-21, 30-24, 30-24) and Northwestern (30-25, 30-26, 30-25).
Senior Jennifer Abernathy was named tournament MVP after averaging 4.67 kills on .400 hitting, 1.78 digs, 0.89 blocks and 0.44 service aces. Fellow seniors Kim Glass and Bre Ladd were also named to the team. Glass averaged 4.67 kills, 3.00 digs and 0.78 blocks over the three games, while Ladd averaged 2.56 kills, 1.00 blocks and 0.44 service aces.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
UC Santa Barbara- The Gauchos (2-1) opened the season last weekend by placing second at the Aquafina Volleyball Invitational. UC Santa Barbara defeated Missouri State (25-30, 29-31, 30-25, 30-27, 18-16) and Dayton (30-17, 30-15, 30-28) before falling to host Florida (25-30, 22-30, 24-30). Ashley Dutro and Janine Sandell were named to the all-tournament team. Dutro averaged 12.73 assists and 2.09 digs, while Sandell posted 7.00 kill, 3.82 dig and 0.73 block averages over the 11 games.
Santa Clara - The Broncos (3-0) captured the Holiday Inn-Costa Mesa Sunset Classic title last weekend with wins over UNLV (27-30, 30-27, 30-26, 30-21) and host UC Irvine (30-32, 31-29, 30-22, 30-28). Four Broncos - Kim McGiven (6.88 kpg, 3.13 dpg), Cassie Perret (3.13 kpg, 2.00 dpg, 0.63 bpg), Anna Cmaylo (3.50 kpg, 1.25 bpg) and Caroline Walters (5.75 dpg) were named to the all-tournament team. McGiven was also named West Coast Conference Player of the Week.
Fresno State - The Bulldogs (2-2) kicked off the season last weekend at the San Francisco Powerade/Asics Classic. Fresno State lost to William and Mary (19-30, 25-30, 26-30) before winning two straight against North Carolina (30-19, 26-30, 30-21, 30-21) and Long Island (30-21, 26-30, 30-18, 30-18). The Bulldogs concluded the tournament with a loss to host San Francisco (24-30, 24-30, 29-31). Fresno State is led by Mounia Nihipali and Kasie Spencer, who average 3.56 kills and 3.33 digs, and 3.14 kills and 1.29 blocks per game, respectively.
UC Santa Barbara- Arizona is 6-7 all-time vs. the Gauchos. The last time the two teams met, on Nov. 29, 2003, Arizona lost 3-0 in Santa Barbara. Arizona is 3-1 at home, 0-3 away and 2-4 at a neutral site vs. the Gauchos.
Santa Clara - Arizona is 4-1 all-time vs. Santa Clara. The two teams last met on Sept. 4, 2003, with the Wildcats falling at home, 3-1, to the Broncos. Arizona is 2-1 at home and 2-0 at a neutral site vs. Santa Clara.
Fresno State - The Wildcats are 6-1 all-time vs. the Bulldogs. The last time the two teams met, on Dec. 3, 1998, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Long Beach, Calif., Arizona won 3-0. The Wildcats are 2-0 at home, 0-1 away and 4-0 at a neutral site vs. Fresno State.
ABERNATHY NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF WEEK: Outside hitter Jennifer Abernathy was named Pac-10 Player of the Week after being named MVP of the Wildcat Classic for the second straight year. The senior led all players in kills per game (4.67), and ranked second in service aces per game (0.44) and hitting percentage (.400), and sixth in blocks per game (0.89). This is the third weekly honor for Abernathy.
RUBIO’S RECORD: Head Coach Dave Rubio boasts a 256-135 record (.655) in his 14 seasons at the helm of the Wildcat program. He needs just three more wins to become the all-time winningest coach in school history. Rosie Wegrich, who coached from 1977-1991, compiled a 258-229-9 record (.531) in 15 seasons.
POLL POSITION: Arizona has been ranked in the Top 25 in 104 of the last 113 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Coaches Polls. The nine-week lapse occurred during the 2003 season.
CONFERENCE ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS: Arizona boasts several of the Pac-10’s active career statistical leaders. Senior Kim Glass is the current leader in kills (1,568) and ranks second in service aces (121). Fellow senior Bre Ladd is the leader in blocks (346), while setter Stephanie Butkus ranks third in assists (2,637).
STACKED SCHEDULE: As always, Arizona faces a tough schedule in 2005. Included on the slate are 14 matches against teams that participated in last year’s NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats will also face seven teams (Stanford, Washington, USC, UCLA, Georgia Tech, California and UC Santa Barbara) that were ranked in the preseason Top 25 in the AVCA/CSTV Coaches Poll.
TELEVISION TIME: Two of Arizona’s matches this season will be televised on a tape-delay basis on FSN. The Wildcats’ Oct. 7 match at Arizona State (which will air on Oct. 8) and the team’s home match on Nov. 18 vs. USC (which will air on Nov. 19) can be seen by a national audience on FSN.
PAC-10 POTPOURRI: With Stanford capturing the NCAA title last season, the Pac-10 has now won four consecutive national championships (Stanford in 2004 and 2001, USC in 2003 and 2002). What’s more, Pac-10 teams have claimed 12 of the sport’s 24 NCAA championships.
REACHING MILESTONES: Sophomore Amy Dyck recorded her 100th career assist, while senior Kim Glass notched her 200th career block vs. Georgia Tech last Friday.
CLOSING IN: Senior Jennifer Abernathy is 11 digs away from 500, while junior Stephanie Butkus is 12 digs shy of 400 on her career. Senior Bre Ladd is 18 kills away from 900 on her career.
GLASS’ STREAKS: Senior Kim Glass has at least three kills and three digs in 85 of the 87 matches on her career. What’s more, she has recorded double-digit kills in all but 10 (77 of 87) matches during her three years. With 1,568 career kills, she is 68 away from second place, currently held by Terry Lauchner (1987-1990).
BLOCKING MACHINE: Senior Bre Ladd has been a consistent defensive threat at the net ever since she arrived on campus in the fall of 2002. She has at least one block in 92 of 97 career matches, including 29 of 30 last season. What’s more, the Tucson native currently has 346 total blocks on her career, good for sixth place all-time at Arizona and just 13 away from fifth place, currently held by Stephanie Murry (1984-87).
BUTKUS ENTERS ELITE STATUS: Last season, setter Stephanie Butkus became just the sixth Wildcat ever to eclipse the 2,000-assist mark. With 2,637 assists on her career, if she continues at her current pace, the junior would finish her career with 5,070 assists, good for second place behind two-time All-American Dana Burkholder (5,424).
UP NEXT: Arizona travels to Kingston, R.I., for the Rhode Island Invitational next Friday and Saturday, Sept. 16-17. The Wildcats face Connecticut at 1 p.m. (EDT) Friday, followed by a 7 p.m. (EDT) match against host Rhode Island. On Saturday, Arizona faces North Carolina at noon (EDT).