Sept. 3, 2002
Louisville Labor Day Invitational Quick Hits: Arizona's victory over UT-Arlington improved its record to 19-7 in season opening matches since 1977 ... Seniors Lisa Rutledge and Laurie Gardner were named to the all-invitational team ... Rutledge posted a .365 attack percentage with 38 kills and 22 digs in the three matches ... Gardner dished out 122 assists in the three matches for a 12.20 apg average ... Freshman Kim Glass was impressive with 44 kills for the weekend while hitting a team-high .378 ... Senior Shannon Torregrosa led the Wildcats with 46 kills on .312 hitting ... Glass, Bre Ladd and Angie Ayers became just the seventh, eight and ninth freshmen to start a season opening match for Coach Rubio at Arizona ... Arizona's 12 service reception errors against Louisville were the most for a Wildcat team since Oct. 30, 1998 when Arizona committed 18 reception errors in a five-game loss to Oregon ... The loss to Louisville was Arizona's first to an unranked opponent since the Wildcats fell to Arizona State on Oct. 1, 1999.
The Wildcat Classic: 2002 marks the 19th season that Arizona will host the Wildcat Classic. This season's field of No.2 Nebraska, No. 8 Pepperdine and New Mexico adds to a roll call of successful teams that have participated in the past. Of the 65 teams that have taken part in the classic, an impressive 32 have gone on to participate in either the NCAA or NIVC tournament the year they participated. Arizona has won 14 of the 18 previous classics and own a 43-8 (.843) all-time record in the event. The Wildcats have won six straight matches in the Wildcat Classic, including three over top 25 teams. Pepperdine is the only other 2002 participant to have played in the event before, going 2-1 in 1993. See page three of the notes for Wildcat Classic records.
Arizona in McKale Center: Despite being utilized as the home court for both men's and women's basketball and women's gymnastics, Arizona volleyball has still managed to turn McKale Center into a formidable place for opposing teams to come and play. Over the last two seasons the Wildcats have enjoyed a 26-2 (.929) record in the facility, with both losses being of the five game variety to top ten teams (2000 #10 UCLA, 2001 #3 Stanford). Since 1992, when current head coach David Rubio took over the program, Arizona has been especially rude hosts to visiting non-conference opponents. During this 10-year span the Wildcats have lost only six matches in 47 tries (41-6) against non-Pac-10 teams at home for an .872 winning percentage. Arizona currently has an 11-match home winning streak against non-conference opponents. The Wildcats have won 20 of their last 21 overall matches in McKale Center.
Arizona Following A Loss: The Wildcats' loss at Louisville last weekend came as a surprise to many. However, Arizona fans shouldn't fear too much, the last time UA lost consecutive non-conference matches was over six seasons ago when Hawaii defeated the Wildcats on back-to-back days Nov. 22-23, 1995 ... More good news comes when looking back to Arizona's last season opening loss to UC Santa Barbara in 2000. After dropping a five-game match to the Gauchos, Arizona reeled off a school record 14-match winning streak.
New Mexico: The Lobos enter Tucson with an 0-4 record having lost all their matches at Wichita State's Invitational last weekend ... Junior Anna Reines leads the Lobo attack with 61 kills in four matches. She is averaging 4.07 kpg so far this season ... Sophomore setter Monica Meihack averages 10.80 apg ... The Lobos have been hit by the injury bug early this year. Senior setter Kelly Griffin has been lost for the season with a torn ACL and junior outside hitter Lynzie Hayes is questionable for the upcoming weekend with a knee injury ... Kelley Sliva, who spent nine years at Northern Arizona, has taken over as the first-year head coach for UNM and has a 143-108 record in 10-plus seasons as a head coach ... Sliva, a graduate of Catalina High School here in Tucson, was also a three-year letterwinner for the Arizona volleyball team from 1980-82 ... The meeting between Arizona and New Mexico on Friday will be the 13th all-time and the first since 1993 ... Arizona enjoys a 7-5 advantage in the series.
Nebraska: National power Nebraska comes to Tucson after opening the season 2-1. The second-ranked Huskers defeated Pittsburgh and Ball State before falling to third-ranked USC in Muncie, Ind. ... A fellow Final Four Participant from last season, Nebraska returns four starters and eight letterwinners from 2001's 31-2 team ... Head coach John Cook, who enters his third season in Lincoln, has an impressive 67-3 record with Nebraska ... Laura Pilakowski and Amber Holmquist are the Huskers' top guns on offense, while 2000 Honda Award winner Greichaly Cepero returns to set up the Nebraska offense as the setter ... Nebraska and Arizona will be meeting for sixth time since 1983 ... The two schools last met in the regional finals of the 2000 NCAA Championship tournament in Lincoln. Nebraska won 3-0 over the Wildcats on its way to the national title ... Nebraska has a 5-1 advantage in the all-time series.
Pepperdine: The Waves opened the 2002 season eighth in the preseason poll, but stumbled twice at the NACWAA State Farm Classic to Northern Iowa and Stanford ... Since the opening two losses the Waves have bounced back with three victories over Clemson, South Florida and Michigan ... Pepperdine returns five starters and seven letterwinners from last season's NCAA regional finalist team ... Katie Wilkins has been the Waves' top hitter this season with 90 kills in 20 games this season ... Head coach Nina Matthies is in her 20th season at Pepperdine and has accumulated a record of 361-228-9 in Malibu ... 2002 will mark the 10th meeting between Arizona and Pepperdine ... The Waves defeated Arizona 3-0 in the 1993 Wildcat Classic to jump out to a 5-4 all-time advantage.
Ranked Non-Conference Opponents: Second-ranked Nebraska is the highest ranked non-conference opponent to ever play in McKale Center. Hawaii, ranked third at the time of the match, was the previous highest ranked non-Pac-10 team to take the McKale Center floor when it defeated the Wildcats 3-1 in 1999 ... With both Nebraska and Pepperdine ranked in the polls, this weekend's matches will mark the first time Arizona has hosted two or more nationally ranked non-conference teams on the same weekend since 1996 when 18th-ranked San Diego State and 20th-ranked Loyola Marymount played in Tucson.
A Dip In The Poll: The 3-0 loss to Louisville last Saturday knocked Arizona out of the top 10 in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll for the first time since Sept. 11, 2000. See page 8 of the notes for the full poll.
Looking For #200: Head Coach David Rubio needs one more victory to become the second coach in school history to reach 200 wins in Tucson. Should the Wildcats defeat New Mexico on Friday it would come in Rubio's 298th match as Arizona's head coach. Rosie Wegrich, who is UA's all-time leader in coaching victories with 258, picked up her 200th Arizona victory in her 341st match on the bench. Ironically, Coach Wegrich also went for (and got) her 200th win against New Mexico in 1988.
Milestones To Watch For: Lisa Rutledge needs 26 starts this season to become the all-time school leader in matches started ... Although Barb Bell's school record of 1,859 career kills appears safe, a top three finish for Rutledge is not out of the question. Already seventh on the kills list, the senior outside hitter needs just 180 more to move into third all-time.
Pac-10 Coaches Preseason Poll: The Pac-10 coaches have placed Arizona third in their annual preseason poll. The Wildcats garnered 73 votes in the poll, trailing only defending Pac-10 Champion Stanford and USC. The coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own team, have correctly named the conference champion eight times in 13 tries. The full poll can be found on page 8 of the notes.
We're #1: The 2002 freshman class at Arizona is easily the most highly regarded incoming crop of athletes in the program's 31-year history. Ranked the top recruiting class in the nation by Volleyball Magazine, all four players in the class are in the publication's Fab 50 for 2002, including the top two and three of the top six freshman players in the country. The class is composed of Jennifer Abernathy and Meghan Cumpston from California, Kim Glass from Pennsylvania, and Bre Ladd who opted to stay in Southern Arizona after attending Canyon Del Oro High School.
Arizona and Volleyball Magazine's 2002 Fab 50
1. Bre Ladd
2. Kim Glass
6. Jennifer Abernathy
34. Meghan Cumpston
Head Coach David Rubio: Entering his 11th season as the top man at Arizona, Rubio has elevated the Wildcat volleyball program to one of the elite in all of Division I. Taking a team that did not win a conference match the season prior to his arrival, he has built a 199-98 record in 10-plus years. He has led the Wildcats to eight NCAA Tournament berths, including the last six straight, 15 tournament victories, five Sweet Sixteens ('93, '94, '99, 2000, '01), two Elite Eights (2000, '01) and Arizona's first-ever Final Four (2001). His efforts last season earned him Volleyball Magazine National Coach-of-the-Year honors.
The Libero: The NCAA has instituted a major rule change for the 2002 volleyball season. The position of libero has been added into play this year and will certainly have an impact on the game. The new position is defined as: a back-row player, intended to be used as a ball-control specialist. The libero is allowed to replace any player in the back row without counting as a substitution. The is no limit to the number of libero replacements a team is allowed. However, there are restrictions on what the libero can and cannot do on the floor:
? The libero plays only in the back row. ? The libero may not serve. ? The libero may not block or attempt to block. ? The libero may not attack the ball if contact is made while the ball is completely above the height of the net. ? A teammate may not attack a ball that is completely above the height of the net IF the libero set that ball to her from the attack zone using an overhand finger pass.