Oct. 14, 2010
No. 10 UCLA (2-3, 12-4) at No. 25 Arizona (3-2 , 14-4)
Friday, Oct. 15
7 p.m. MST | McKale Center| Tucson, Ariz.
No. 5 USC (3-2, 14-2) at No. 25 Arizona (3-2, 14-4)
Saturday, Oct. 16
7 p.m. MST | McKale Center | Tucson, Ariz.
Ahead This Week for UA Volleyball: On tap this week for the Wildcat volleyball program is a visit by the Los Angeles schools to the desert...UCLA and USC, known for always having strong volleyball programs, are each again ranked among the nation's Top Ten...UCLA is currently in its first season with head coach Mike Sealy, while the Trojans feature a youthful, but talented lineup...Last season vs. these teams in Tucson, the Wildcats knocked off USC but were downed by UCLA...Arizona will look to be led by the tandem of Tiffany Owens and Courtney Karst this week as opposite Whitney Dosty remains a game-time decision due to an ankle injury...While playing in front of its home crowd, the Wildcats are 7-2, while UCLA has accrued three of its four losses on the road.
Stay Connected: There are many mediums for you to stay connected with Arizona Volleyball...First and foremost, check out recaps, schedules, releases, GameTracker and general updates at ArizonaWildcats.com...If you want more in depth news straight from the coaching staff, check out the Arizona Volleyball twitter feed at twitter.com/arizonavball...Additionally, all home matches will be streamed live through UA's Comcast All-Access player...And lest we forget about the Arizona Athletics Facebook page, check us out over the world's largest social network through either the general Arizona Athletics page or sport specific page.
Last week: The Wildcats defeated both Oregon State and then No. 13 Oregon last week on the road during its first Pac-10 trip of the season. Both matches went five sets with Tiffany Owens coming up big in each. Owens, who was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for her performances, had a career-high 32 kills against OSU while also adding 20 digs in the come-from-behind victory over the Beavers. The very next night playing the ranked Ducks, Arizona would do it again, erasing a 2-1 deficit with Owens going for 23 kills and 26 digs and Courtney Karst achieving a career-best 22 kills, topping Oregon on the road for the second straight year, 3-2. The win moved UA's road win total to a perfect 5-0.
In the rankings: After beating the Beavers and Ducks, Arizona finds itself back in the AVCA national rankings at No. 25 overall. It's the fourth week in which the Cats have been ranked including the preseason ranking of No. 18. UCLA is No. 10 while its cross-town travel-mate, USC, is No. 5. With the inclusion of the Cats back in the rankings, the Pac-10 has seven teams among the Top 25. In the RPI rankings, Arizona is currently No. 23.
Head Coach Dave Rubio ...is in his 19th season as head coach of Arizona. In that time span, Rubio has a record of 354-204. Rubio also boasts a career record of 476-270 in 24+ 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 is assisted by associate head coach Steve Walker, assistant coach Allison Napier and volunteer coach Melissa Ohta.
Active Wins Leader in the Pac: Coach Rubio is the active leader in Conference wins with 354. The "dean" of Pac-10 head coaches, Rubio's been at the helm of UA seven years longer than the second longest tenured coach (Cal's Rich Feller). Rubio also owns a conference winning percentage of .634 in the always tough Pac-10 and has guided the Cats to 13 NCAA appearances.
Road Win Streak: For the past few seasons, one of UA's hindrances was winning conference matches on the road. It's always a tough task, especially in the Pac-10, playing in front of crowds who are rooting for the opposite team, but the Cats have been able to overcome other team's best effort thus far and are unbeaten on the road. With non-conference matches included, the Wildcats are 5-0 when playing in someone else's building. Last week's matches at the Oregon schools will especially go a long way when it comes time for possible NCAA at-large bids.
Chart the Hitting Percentage: If you were to focus on only of one the multitude of stats in predicting whether Arizona will be victorious on the evening, look to the hitting percentage. This season in matches where UA has had the higher percentage, the Cats are a perfect 14-0. In cases where they trail their opponents in overall hitting percentage, Arizona is 0-4. Now while this stat is sort of like former football analyst John Madden's "whichever team scores the most points wins", it remains an interesting note nonetheless.
Pac-10 Player of the Week: Senior outside hitter Tiffany Owens put on quite a performance against Oregon State and Oregon last week. Owens through two matches recorded 55 kills and 46 digs while also hitting over .350 to lead the Cats to back-to-back road wins. For those two matches, Owens was named the Conference's Player of the Week. It's the third time Owens has garnered the award during her career at Arizona and it's the 28th time a Wildcat has won Player of the Week.
Watch Her Double-Double's: One stat of note during the 2009 season was Tiffany Owens' double-doubles. When Owens amassed double-digit kills and digs, the Wildcats usually had success. Currently, Owens has eight double-double performances, including five in her last six matches. Against the Beavs and Ducks, Owens more than carried her double-double stat as she recorded 20 or more kills and digs on both Friday and Saturday.
Lucky Number 13: The Wildcats' Cursty Jackson is proving to be a threat on both the offensive and defensive ends in 2010. A transfer from UNLV and originally from Los Angeles, has been Arizona's top middle through 18 matches this season. Against the then-13th ranked Ducks, Jackson recorded a season-high 10 block assists in helping Arizona upset Oregon. Additionally, in Pac-10 conference matches, Jackson has the second best hitting percentage with a .376 clip. Her blocking and scoring ability will again best tested this weekend when UA faces SC and UCLA.
Nicholson Solidifies Starting Gig: Freshman libero Candace Nicholson has gone from a back-up situational player to the Wildcats' starting libero after recording double-digit digs in UA's last four matches. It isn't just numbers either for the Long Beach, Calif. native as she has provided a defensive presence against some of the better teams in the country while also growing more accustomed to the speed of college volleyball. Look for Nicholson to
Acquiring Some Help: UA was helped two weekends ago with Tarryn Luafalemana and Kaylen Bannister returning off the proverbial DL. Both players will look to factor in at the middle blocker position. Luafalemana worked in sparingly against Cal and Stanford, but look for Bannister, UA's most defensive and physical blocker, to continue working her way back into the lineup after sitting out training camp and the start of the season due to birthing a son in August.
Quite the Streak: Paige Weber has put together quite an impressive streak, playing in every set of her Wildcat career. That amounts to 393 consecutive sets played over three plus seasons. The Wildcats will look to Weber's durability again this season to take them to the postseason. Her active streak is currently third on the UA all-time consecutive sets played list. It isn't just being in the lineup either for Weber as she posted a season-high 64 assists in UA's win over Oregon State Friday. Currently in conference matches, Weber leads all Pac-10 setters with an assist-to-set ratio of 12.10.
Digs Leader: Tiffany Owens gets most of her praise on the offensive end, as she often times sparks UA rallies, and is the team leader in kills. But her most vital asset to the team might be her defensive prowess. Owens, who passes in all six rotations, currently leads the team in digs with 203 and is essential to the teams serve-receive. Just this past weekend, Owens had 46 digs on her way to Player of the Week honors
Career-High for Karst: When opposite Whitney Dosty went down with an injury, junior hitter Courtney Karst stepped up for the Wildcats, going for a career-high 22 kills against Oregon on Saturday to lead Arizona to the win. Karst's ability to scores points will be a big attribute the rest of the season.
Pac-10 Preseason Poll: In this year's Pac-10 Coaches Poll, Arizona was slated to finish fourth overall behind Stanford (1), Washington (2) and USC (3). It's the Wildcats highest poll position since the 2005 season. Seven Conference teams were ranked among the AVCA preseason poll. Currently six are in this week's top 25.