Aug. 14, 2002
PRESCOTT, Ariz.- Day two of the Arizona volleyball camp consisted of six hours of practice and drills spread over two sessions and two different locations. The early session began at 8:30 am and lasted until just before 11:30 at Yavapai Junior College. Session two, another three hour long practice, was held at Chino Valley High School.
The Morning Session: The focus of the morning was individual skill development. The first third of the practice focused on passing and serve receive. After which the players worked themselves into some actual serving before finishing with individual and team blocking schemes. While there weren't any particular standouts in the morning drills, the team grasped the concepts that the coaches emphasized and continued to improve as the morning went along.
The Afternoon Session: The later session began with the usual warm ups and passing and defensive technique. The players then broke into positional groups. The setters and middle blockers occupied one court to work on their positioning while the outside hitters worked on blocking in a controlled environment before progressing to crosscourt ball control drills. The session ended with a three-on-six drill and a six-on-six two ball wash drill.
The Nightly Meeting: The Wildcats gathered for their evening meeting and dove straight into the practice tapes from the day's activities. Coach Rubio then moved on to discus leadership and competitiveness, citing former players as examples of what he wants out on the floor. The team closed out the night with a trip for ice cream.
Looking For Something Cool: Typically those who travel to Prescott for camp find themselves digging out some jeans and a sweatshirt for the cool evening. Such is not the case this time around. The Prescott area is experiencing Tucson-like heat which has made the practices a sweaty affair. To counteract the heat, athletic trainer Amanda Ely is never far away with a water bottle and there are cool water baths for the players after the morning sessions at Yavapai.
Player Updates: The returning players entered camp with a leg up on what to expect, but the newcomers have begun to catch on. All four freshmen showed some impressive athleticism today both on offense and defense. Jennifer Abernathy took some impressive swings on the ball in the afternoon, while Kim Glass and Bre Ladd both looked very fluid and strong at the net. Meghan Cumpston looks good on the outside and will surely be a steady player for the Cats.
Transfer Laurie Gardner and sophomore Rochelle Ruen appear to be becoming more adjusted with the players and their role as the setter, which is certainly a credit volunteer assistant Dana Burkholder, the player they are replacing on the floor. Defensive Specialist Kelli Mulvany has also taken a number of reps in the setter role, a position she played in high school. Transfer Cassidy Crum played well in the six-on-six drills in the back row and has continued to adapt to her new teammates.
As for the returning players it's "more of the same". Rock steady and consistent play out of Lisa Rutledge, big booming kills from Shannon Torregrosa, unparalleled competitiveness and fire from Stefani Saragosa and the firm play of DS Rachel Williams. Redshirt junior Christina Frost, who started four matches last season, has elevated her play already in the infantile fall camp. Frost has driven home a number of kills and will surely play a key role when the season opens. Jolene Killough has continued her development and has proven to be a blocking menace at the net. Angie Ayers has displayed her versatility thus far on both the right side and in the middle. Sophomore Ilissa Larimore played well as a DS/libero in the six-on-six drill that ended Tuesday's practice.
Depth Is Not a Concern: The biggest problem facing the Arizona coaches heading into camp was where the new and returning players will position themselves. And three days into preseason training, the problem still remains. The coaches still have the luxury of playing everyone all over the floor during the early part of camp and noting how everyone reacts. The "problem" of having such versatile and diverse players will apparently continue for a while.
Thanks For The Patients: For those who have taken the time to log on and read about volleyball's fall camp, the players and coaches would like to express their gratitude. Due to unforeseen problems in locating a phone line (who knew such a simple thing would prove to be such a problem) the posting schedule of the comings and goings at camp has been a little delayed. A chance encounter upon a web caf? will hopefully alleviate the delay and the will be more stories and pictures posted in the next couple of days.
Plans For Wednesday: The plans for day three of camp will mirror the previous day, an early breakfast, practice, lunch, practice, dinner, meetings and free time after which comes the much needed bed.