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Volleyball Set To Open Pac-10 Play vs. ASU
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 09/20/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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THIS WEEK:
The Arizona volleyball team (9-3) opens Pac-10 Conference play with a home match against rival Arizona State at McKale Center on Friday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. The match is a Rivalry Red Out - come support the Cats and get your free rally towel (first 500 fans). The Wildcats wrapped up their non-conference slate last weekend at a four-team tournament at Northwestern.

A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA:
The Wildcats posted a 2-1 record at the Wildcat Classic host by Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., last weekend. Arizona swept Pittsburgh (30-28, 30-24, 30-28) and defeated Eastern Illinois in four games on Friday, before falling in five games (28-30, 30-22, 23-30, 30-17, 13-15) to Northwestern on Saturday. Junior Dominique Lamb and senior Stephanie Butkus were named to the all-tournament team. Lamb averaged 2.92 kills and 1.33 blocks, while Butkus posted averages of 11.00 assists, 2.50 digs and 0.83 blocks over the three matches.

On the season, Arizona is led by Brooke Buringrud, who averages 3.70 kills, 2.68 digs and 0.45 service aces per game. Whitney Dosty adds 3.30 kills, while Lamb leads the team with a 1.43 blocks average. Junior libero Brittany Leonard averages a team-best 3.29 digs per game.

As a team, the Wildcats are hitting .201 on the season, compared to the .133 of their opponents. Arizona also betters its opposition in every other statistical category.

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
Arizona State - The Sun Devils enter their Pac-10 opener with a non-conference record of 8-3 after going 2-1 last weekend at their home tournament against Duke, Butler and Notre Dame. ASU dropped a five-game decision to Duke, but rallied to beat Butler 3-1 and sweep Notre Dame 3-0 in the final two matches of the weekend. The highlights of the non-conference slate for ASU was its play against the Big Ten Conference. The Devils swept Michigan State, and took No. 16-ranked Purdue to five games before falling in Auburn, Ala.

SERIES SHORTS:
Arizona State - Friday’s match will mark the 70th in the all-time series between the two schools. Arizona holds a 36-33 series lead dating back to 1977. The Wildcats have won five straight matches against the Sun Devils, and 11 of the last 13. Arizona posted a pair of sweeps against ASU last season, winning 30-22, 30-26, 30-26 in Tempe on Oct. 7 and 30-25, 30-25, 30-24 in Tucson on Nov. 19. The Wildcats have protected their home floor against ASU, winning six straight matches in McKale Center. Arizona State’s last victory in Tucson came during the 1999 season when it defeated UA 3-1 under the old side-out scoring system (15-12, 15-13, 7-15, 15-11). UA’s David Rubio is 17-12 all-time against Arizona State as the head coach of the Wildcats. ASU’s Brad Saindon is 1-5 against UA as the Sun Devils’ head man

PAC-10 OPENERS:
Dating back to the first year of Pac-10 Conference play in 1986, Arizona is 10-10 in its first conference match of the year. Friday’s match against Arizona State will mark the second consecutive season Arizona has started its Pac-10 slate at home.

ARIZONA VS. THE PAC-10 IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM:
The Wildcats have played pretty well against Pac-10 opponents early into the 21st century. Since 2000, when Arizona shared the Pac-10 title with USC, UA has posted a 75-33 record (.694) against the rival schools from the top conference in the nation. Only USC (93-15) and Stanford (85-23) have posted more wins in Pac-10 play than Arizona over the last six years. In McKale Center, the Wildcats have put together a 41-13 home record (.759) against conference opponents since the turn of the millennium. UA is averaging 12.5 victories per year in the 2000s and have posted 10 or more victories all six seasons.

A BUMMER FOR BAUMER:
Senior middle blocker Kristina Baum is expected to 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.

RANKING IN THE PAC-10:
Freshman Jacy Norton is third in the conference in blocks (1.48 bpg). Junior Dominique Lamb ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in blocks (1.43) and fifth in hitting percentage (.404). Senior Stephanie Butkus is seventh in assists (11.27), while sophomore Brooke Buringrud is third in service aces (0.45). As a team, the Wildcats are third in the Pac-10 in blocks (3.12) and fourth in service aces (1.77)

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.

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. What’s more impressive about her numbers is the fact that she missed the majority of last season with a knee injury.

DOSTY DELIVERS:
In just her third year playing volleyball, freshman outside hitter Whitney Dosty has demonstrated her athleticism in the young season as she is averaging 3.30 kills per game, second-best on the team. She had a career-high 18 kills in Arizona’s five-game loss to Northwestern last Saturday.

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 1.86 digs and 1.69 kills. 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 three matches this year, the sophomore is averaging 3.29 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 three matches last weekend at the Wildcat Classic at Northwestern, Norton tallied a team-best 19 total blocks at the net to help her average 1.58 BPG. She also chipped in offensively, recording 16 kills in 12 games played for a 1.33 KPG average. For the year, Norton has 45 kills (1.36 KPG) and is second on the team with 42 total blocks (1.48 BPG) in 33 games played.

POLL POSITION:
Arizona 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 130 polls, dating back to the 1998 season. The previous nine-week lapse occurred during the 2003 season.

RUBIO’S RECORD:
Head Coach Dave Rubio boasts a 287-144 record (.666) 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 409-210 (.661) record.

CLOSING IN:
Sophomore Brooke Buringrud is four kills shy of 175 for her career and needs three more blocks for 25. Senior Stephanie Butkus is seven kills away from 200 and 23 digs shy of 550. Freshman Whitney Dosty is five kills south of 150 early in her career, while junior Katie Jackels is 11 digs shy of 225. Junior Dominique Lamb is 13 blocks away from 275 on her career, 10 digs away from 75 and 25 kills away from 400. Sophomore libero Brittany Leonard needs seven digs for 500 in her career

REACHING MILESTONES:
Sophomore Brooke Buringrud recorded her 20th career service ace at Northwestern. Senior Stephanie Butkus went over 500 career digs at the Northwestern tournament last weekend. Junior Amy Dyck tallied her 75th career block against Northwestern. Junior Dominique Lamb’s final kill against Northwestern gave her 375 in the three-year career.

PAC-10 ACTIVE LEADERS:
Senior Kristina Baum ranks fifth among active players in the Pac-10 in blocks, and seventh in both kills and service aces. Senior Stephanie Butkus is third in assists, while junior Amy Dyck ranks seventh.

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.

STACKED SCHEDULE:
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.

PAC-10 POTPOURRI:
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. What’s more, Pac-10 teams have claimed 13 of the sport’s 25 NCAA championships.

RECRUITING CLASS RANKED FOURTH:
Arizona’s 2006 freshman class was selected as the fourth-best in the country by PrepVolleyball.com. The group is comprised of seven players - Jayme Allen (San Diego, Calif.), Kara Bauman (Tucson, Ariz.), Whitney Dosty (Tucson, Ariz.), Ashley Hamilton (Alpine, Utah), Makenzie Mullin (Overland Park, Kan.), Jacy Norton (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Alanna Resch (Solana Beach, Calif.) - and will attempt to fill the holes left by the departure of a class that four years ago was rated No. 1 nationally.

PAC-10 POLL:
Arizona was picked to finish sixth in the Pac-10 in a preseason vote of the league’s 10 head coaches, receiving 48 points. Stanford and UCLA, both of which Arizona swept last season, were picked to finish first and second, respectively. The Cardinal received eight first-place votes and 89 total points, while the Bruins tallied two first-place votes and 79 points. Defending national champion Washington was picked to finish third with 76 points. California and USC followed in fourth and fifth place with 64 and 62 points, respectively. Rounding out the poll were Oregon State (41), Oregon (32), Arizona State (30) and Washington State (19). The coaches have correctly picked the Pac-10 champion in 10 of the previous 17 polls. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team.

UP NEXT:
Arizona heads out on the road for its first Pac-10 matches away from home next week as it travels to face Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., on Sept. 29 and then heads across the Bay for a meeting with Cal in Berkeley, Calif. on Sept. 30. Both matches are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

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