The Arizona women's volleyball team (10-13, 1-10 Pac-10) travels to the City of Angels to take on No. 6 USC (19-3, 8-3 Pac-10) on Friday, Nov. 3 and No. 5 UCLA (22-2, 9-2) on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. Arizona's match against the Women of Troy on Friday night in the Galen Center will be a taped-delayed broadcast by Fox Sports Net.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA:
Last week, the Wildcats closed out its four-match home stand with losses to No. 11 California and No. 3 Stanford. Arizona fell to the Golden Bears in four games (33-31, 30-25, 26-30, 30-20) on Friday night and was swept by the Cardinal on Saturday night (30-17, 30-19, 30-19).
On the season, sophomore Brooke Buringrud leads the team with 3.64 kills per game, 0.40 service aces per game, and is second on the team with 2.63 digs per game. Freshman Whitney Dosty posts 3.20 kills per game, and junior Dominique Lamb adds 2.51 kills per game, a team-high .316 hitting percentage, and a team-best 1.59 blocks per game average. Sophomore libero Brittany Leonard averages a team-high 3.81 digs per game.
As a team, Arizona is hitting .170 on the season, averaging 13.98 kills per game, and a Pac-10 best 3.43 blocks per game.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
USC - The University of Southern California Women of Troy (19-3, 8-3 Pac-10) enter Friday's match ranked No. 6 in the nation. USC has dropped three of its last five matches, but swept the Wildcats in Tucson on Oct. 7 (30-19, 30-27, 33-31). As a team, USC hits .253 (1285-474-3208), and averages 16.06 kills, 3.14 blocks, 17.09 digs, and 1.38 service aces a game. Individually, the Women of Troy are led by junior Asia Kaczor who averages 4.59 kills per game, which ranks second in the Pac-10, to go with a .287 hitting percentage. Junior Diane Copenhagen adds 3.99 kills per game and senior Debra Seilhmer is second in the Pac-10 with 6.20 digs per game.
UCLA - The University of California, Los Angeles Bruins (22-2, 9-2 Pac-10) head into the weekend ranked No. 5 in the nation. The Bruins take on Arizona State on Friday night in Pauley Pavilion before facing the Wildcats on Saturday night. The Bruins were 20-0 on the season before dropping two of their last four matches. UCLA beat Arizona 3-1 (30-24, 30-23, 20-30, 30-25) in McKale Center on Oct. 6. As a team, UCLA hits .269 (1416-497-3419), and averages 17.06 kills (fifth in the nation), 3.28 blocks, 16.61 digs, and 1.29 service aces per game. Individually, UCLA is led by senior Nana Meriwether, who leads the Pac-10 and the nation with a .474 hitting percentage while averaging 4.03 kills per game and a Pac-10 best 1.84 blocks per game.
USC - Friday's match will mark the 61st all-time meeting between USC and Arizona. The Women of Troy own a 45-15 record against the Wildcats since 1977, but UA snapped a seven-match losing streak with a five-game win last season in Tucson. UA lost in three games to the Women of Troy on Oct. 7.
UCLA - Friday's match will mark the 63rd all-time meeting between the Bruins and the Wildcats. UCLA holds a 44-17-1 advantage since the first meeting in 1977, but the Wildcats have enjoyed a recent string of success, winning eight of the last 10 matches between the two teams.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10 AND NCAA:
Junior Dominique Lamb ranks second in the Pac-10 and 16th nationally in blocks (1.59), and ranks seventh in the Pac-10 with a .316 hitting percentage. Senior Stephanie Butkus is seventh in the conference in assists (11.19), while sophomore Brooke Buringrud is third in service aces (0.40). Freshman Jacy Norton is fourth in the conference in blocks (1.47), and sophomore Brittany Leonard is ninth in the Pac-10 in digs (3.81 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 seventh in the nation with 3.43 blocks per game. Arizona has posted double-digit team stuffs in eight of its last nine matches, and 16 of its last 18 matches. Against Stanford on Saturday, 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. In 23 matches played this year, UA has finished with 10 or more blocks 18 times.
Junior middle blocker Dominique Lamb is working her way up the block charts at UA. With 331 total stuffs, Lamb is now 10th all-time at Arizona, and needs two more blocks to move past Leigh Halliwell for ninth all-time. Her current career average of 1.27 blocks per game places her second in school history behind only Kelly Waage (1.43). Lamb's 331 total blocks is currently third among all active Pac-10 players.
In just her third year playing volleyball, freshman outside hitter Whitney Dosty has demonstrated her athleticism in the young season as she is averaging 3.20 kills per game, second-best on the team. She had a career-high 18 kills in Arizona's five-game loss to Northwestern on Sept. 16, and had a team-high 17 against Washington on Oct. 20.
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 1.31 digs and 1.31 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 23 matches this year, the sophomore is averaging a team-best 3.81 digs per game.
NORTON AT THE NET:
With the loss of MB Kristina Baum for the year, the Wildcats will need someone to step up. True freshman Jacy Norton has made an early bid to be that player. In the 16 matches since Baum went down with her knee injury, Norton is averaging 1.49 blocks per game, 1.62 kills and is hitting at a .230 clip, numbers that are very similar to Baum's prior to her injury (1.00 BPG, 1.59 KPG, .237 hitting percentage)
Arizona's trip to the state of Oregon (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 is now nine digs away from 100. Sophomore libero Brittany Leonard now has 664 career digs, and classmate Randy Goodenough posted the 100th kill in her career and now owns 67 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 136 polls, dating back to the 1998 season. The previous nine-week lapse occurred during the 2003 season.
Head Coach Dave Rubio boasts a 288-154 record (.652) 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 410-220 (.651) 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 3,987 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 3,703 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 hosts Oregon on Thursday, Nov. 9 and Oregon State on Friday, Nov. 10 in the Wildcats' final home matches of the season in McKale Center.