Oct. 14, 2008
The Arizona volleyball team (12-5, 2-3 Pac-10) hosts two more nationally ranked teams when No. 10 UCLA and No. 11 USC come to McKale Center for a pair of Pac-10 matches. The Wildcats and Bruins (12-4, 2-3) face off Friday night at 7:00 p.m. as part of Arizona’s Dig for the Cure. Players in the match will wear pink accessories to bring about awareness of breast cancer. The Wildcats and Women of Troy (9-5, 2-3) play Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
Scouting the Opposition:
UCLA- The No. 10 Bruins are coming off a split in a trip to Washington last weekend. UCLA beat Washington State in three sets, but lost to Washington in five. Sitting in the middle of the pack in most statistical categories, the Bruins are ranked the highest in digs where they are third with 14.61 per set. UCLA is led by a pair of freshman, Amanda Gil, who is second in the league in blocks with 1.40 a set, and Katie Camp, who has a .335 hitting percentage with 106 kills.
USC- The No. 11 Women of Troy also got a split in their trip to Washington. They also lost to the Huskies in five sets and beat the Cougars in three. USC also sits in the middle of the conference in stats, placing between 4th and 6th in all significant stat categories. Freshman Alex Klineman leads the squad in kills with 3.68 per set and junior Alli Hillgren paces the Women of Troy in digs with 4.38 per set.
UCLA – This will be the 66th match-up between the two schools, with the Bruins holding a 46-18-1 edge. The Wildcats won the last meeting between the schools when they knocked off the then tenth-ranked Bruins with a 3-1 win in Tucson to close out their season. Prior to that, UCLA had won three straight over Arizona.
USC – The Wildcats and Women of Troy have played 63 times with USC holding a 48-15 edge. USC won both matches last season and have won four in a row. Arizona’s last win over Southern California came in 2005 in Tucson, when the Wildcats knocked off the then No. 14 Women of Troy.
Arizona @ Cal: The No. 5 Golden Bears controlled much of the match on its way to a 3-0 win over Arizona in Berkeley, Calif. Cal beat the Wildcats 25-18, 25-19, 25-20. Arizona had its lowest output of the year in kills (30), hitting percentage (.120), assists (30) and service aces (2). Not one Wildcat had more than 10 kills, with Brooke Buringrud leading the way with nine. The loss was Arizona’s third in a row, all coming to top-12 teams on the road.
Arizona @ Stanford: The No. 4 Cardinal used a .327 hitting percentage on its way to beating Arizona 3-0 in Stanford, Calif. The .327 clip was the highest for any Arizona opponent in 2008. Stanford beat the Wildcats 25-22, 25-18 and 25-16. Sophomore Tiffany Owens led the tea m in kills with 12.
Rough Stretch – Arizona is in the middle of a stretch of playing seven straight games against ranked opponents. The Wildcats are 0-4 thus far against team’s ranked in the top-25 and all of their losses have come to teams that are currently in the top-25 ( Arizona lost to Santa Clara before they were ranked).
Watch your Ace –The Wildcats lead the Pac-10 in aces per set with 1.55. Led by sophomore Paige Weber, who sits third in the conference with 0.36 aces per set, Arizona is a team that can score points on one swing.
Block party – The 2008 Wildcats have been a team known for their blocks. Arizona leads the Pac-10 in blocks-per-set with 2.81. Arizona recorded a season-high 15 blocks in their 3-0 win over ASU. Sophomore Stephanie Snow is sixth in the league in blocks with 1.16 per set, while Arizona is tenth in the nation in blocks (2.81 per set). Snow picked up a career-high 10 blocks in the 3-0 win over ASU.
Double-Double X 2 – Senior Brooke Buringrud became just the second Wildcat to record a double-double in the year when she had 12 kills and 13 digs in the 3-1 loss to Colorado State. Buringrud was joined by sophomore Tiffany Owens, who recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 14 kills and 10 digs.
Don’t call it a comeback – Trailing 15-5 in the second set, the Arizona volleyball team went on a 20-5 run to comeback to beat in-state rival Arizona State 25-20 in the second set and 25-10 in the third. With no timeouts left, Arizona head coach Dave Rubio inserted redshirt freshman Kaylen Bannister, who immediately recorded a kill, with freshman Dana Hutchinson and senior Randy Goodenough to give the Wildcats life. In the 20-5 run, the Wildcats had a stretch of five straight block assists with sophomore Stephanie Snow being involved in all of them. To close out the match, Arizona outscored Arizona State 45-15.
Cover Paige –The sophomore setter has picked up where she left off in 2007. She leads the team in assists with 600 in 17 matches. She is sixth in the Pac 10 in assists per set. Weber is also third in the league in aces per serve at 0.36. The sophomore setter added a season-high 47 assists in the loss to Colorado State. Weber has won two tournament MVP awards this season, one in the opening Wildcat Classic and one in the CSU Bakersfield Invitational.
Dosty’s getting there – After missing all of 2007 with a knee injury, sophomore outside hitter Whitney Dosty has returned as a leader for the Wildcats. The Tucson native leads the team with 171 kills and has been the team leader in kills in six of the team’s 17 matches.
Digging towards the top – Senior Brittany Leonard recorded her 1,000 career dig in the team’s 3-2 win over UC Riverside. The libero continues her climb up the career digs list. The Menlo Park, Calif. resident is ninth on the career list. Leonard is still 278 digs from the career leader Terry Lauchner who has 1,297, while Leonard sits at 1,019.
Arizona’s place – The Wildcats sit first in the conference in blocks (2.81 per set), first in services aces (1.55 per set) and third in opponents hitting percentage (.146). Nationally, the team is 10th in blocks per set and 49th in aces per set.
‘Cats in the poll – As fast as Arizona showed up in the AVCA Top-25, they fell out. After being ranked for the first time since Sept. 11, 2006, the Wildcats dropped out after their 3-1 loss at No. 12 Colorado State and are currently the 31st team on the top-25 list with 20 points.
Pac-10 in the Top-25 – For the third week in a row, the Pac-10 has seven teams in the top-25 and eight in the top-31. Stanford sits at the top at number four, Cal’s at five, Oregon is sixth, Washington, seventh, UCLA tenth, USC 11th and Oregon State rounds out the squads at 25th.
2008 award winners - Throughout the season, a handful of Wildcats have been awarded tournament honors. Three players were named to the CSUB All-Tournament Team. Paige Weber brought home tournament MVP, while Jacy Norton and Whitney Dosty were named to the all-tournament team. Ttwo 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.
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.
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.
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.
Head coach Dave Rubio boasts a 317-180 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 439-246 career record.