THIS WEEK: The No. 6 Arizona volleyball team (22-5) has earned a program-best No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament and will face Utah State (21-12) in the first round at 6 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 2, at Crimson Court at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The other first-round game pits Utah (22-8) against Loyola Marymount (19-10) at 8 p.m. Winners of the two matches will face off in the second round at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3.
Live stats of the match(es) are available at www.arizonaathletics.com.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA: The No. 6 Wildcats finished the regular season 22-5, with all five losses coming at the hands of ranked teams. Arizona, which has won five in a row, finished second in the Pac-10 with a 14-4 record, its best conference mark since the 2001 season.
The Wildcats are led this season by senior Kim Glass, who averages 5.35 kills, 3.00 digs, 0.79 blocks and 0.40 service aces per game. Senior Jennifer Abernathy adds 4.05 kills and 3.40 digs per game, while junior Kristina Baum averages 2.30 kills, 1.97 digs and 0.68 blocks per game. Sophomore Dominique Lamb leads the team with 1.25 blocks per game and a .334 hitting percentage, while libero Brittany Leonard has a team-high 3.80 digs-per-game average. Setter Amy Dyck is averaging 11.77 assists per game. As a team, Arizona is out-hitting its opponents .264 to .175. The Wildcats also average better than their opponents in kills (16.37 to 13.67), assists (14.99 to 12.37), digs (15.73 to 14.39) and blocks (2.87 to 1.92).
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
Utah State - Utah State is 21-12 on the season after losing in three games to eighth-ranked Hawaii in the championship match of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament last Saturday. The Aggies finished in a tie for second place in the WAC with an 11-5 league record. USU is 8-3 in its last 11 matches with two of those defeats coming against Hawaii.
This is Utah State’s third-ever postseason appearance, as it participated in the 2000 and 2001 NCAA Tournaments. In 2000, the Aggies defeated Missouri in five games in the first round before being swept by host BYU in the second round. At the 2001 NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah State upset 19th-ranked BYU 3-2 before losing to host Utah in four games in the second round.
Utah State, which is 1-5 against Top 25 opponents this year, is led by first team All-WAC pick Zuzana Cernianska, who averages 4.57 kills and 2.48 digs per game. Fellow All-WAC pick Ingrid Roth averages 2.40 kills and 1.12 blocks per game, and is hitting .329 on the season. Setters Dominique Arsenault and Victoria Zimerman average 8.56 and 7.24 assists per game, respectively. Junior libero Kelsi Peterson leads the team with a 3.80 digs-per-game average.
As a team, the Aggies are hitting .237 on the season, compared to the .193 of their opponents. Utah State betters its opponents in every per game average but digs, which it trails 15.2 to 13.8.
Utah - The Utes are 22-8 on the season after winning the Mountain West Conference Tournament last weekend. The team swept both Wyoming and Colorado State before upsetting No. 21 Brigham Young in four games to win its third tournament title and an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Utes finished in third place in the MWC regular season standings with an 11-5 league record. Utah has won 11 of its last 13 matches.
This is Utah’s eighth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance with an overall record of 6-7. Last season, the Utes were swept by Long Beach State in the first round of the tournament.
Utah is led by three-time All-MWC outside hitter Shelly Sommerfeldt, who averages 3.58 kills, 2.94 digs and 0.91 blocks per game. Freshman Airial Salvo, the MWC Freshman of the Year, adds 3.30 kills, 2.48 digs and 0.88 blocks per game. Freshman setter Shannon Krug dishes out 11.70 assists per game, while senior Danielle Leichliter averages a team-best 3.39 digs. Sophomore Emillie Toone ranks 10th nationally with 1.62 blocks per game.
As a team, Utah is out-hitting its opponents .233 to .151. The Utes also post better averages than their opponents in kills (15.09 to 14.08), assists (13.74 to 13.03), service aces (1.30 to 1.27) and blocks (3.59 to 2.30). Utah ranks fourth nationally in blocks per game.
Loyola Marymount - The Lions are 19-10 on the year, having lost to UC Santa Barbara in four games to close out the regular season. Loyola Marymount went 7-7 in the West Coast Conference, good for fifth place.
This is LMU’s third-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament after receiving an at-large invitation. The Lions are one of five teams from the WCC playing in the first round.
Loyola Marymount is led by All-WCC first team selection Heather Hughes, who averages 3.31 kills per game. Christianna Reneau adds 3.02 kills and 3.98 digs, while honorable mention All-WCC pick Dina DeBernardi averages a team-best 1.20 blocks per game. Michelle Look leads the team with 4.27 digs per game.
As a team, the Lions rank 16th nationally in digs (18.66), 20th in kills (16.48) and 24th in assists (15.01). LMU is hitting .242 compared to the .198 of its opponents.
Utah State - The Wildcats are 5-7 all-time vs. the Aggies. The last time the two teams met, on Sept. 6, 1996, Arizona won 3-0 in Tucson. The Wildcats are 1-2 at home, 0-1 away and 4-4 at a neutral site vs. the Aggies.
Utah - Arizona is 12-4 all-time vs. the Utes. The two teams last met on Nov. 30, 2002, with Utah winning in four games in Salt Lake City. The Wildcats are 4-0 at home, 5-2 on the road and 3-2 at a neutral site vs. Utah.
Loyola Marymount - The Wildcats are 2-1 all-time vs. the Lions. The last time the two teams met, on Sept. 14, 1996, Arizona lost 3-0 in Tucson. The Wildcats are 1-1 at home and 1-0 away vs. Loyola Marymount.
ARIZONA TOURNAMENT TIDBITS: Arizona is 10-5 this season against the other teams in the 2005 NCAA Tournament field. In its 35-year history, Arizona has faced 41 of the teams in the 2005 tournament with a 216-248 (.466) all-time record.
WILDCATS AND THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: This is Arizona’s 21st appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 1981 and made a string of nine-straight appearances from 1981-1989. The Wildcats next participated in postseason play in David Rubio’s second season, making back-to-back appearances in 1993 and 1994. After a one-year absence in 1995, Arizona has participated in the last 10 NCAA Tournaments. The Wildcats are 23-20 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
POWERFUL PAC: The Pac-10 joins the Big Ten Conference and Southeastern Conference as one of three conferences to send six teams to the 2005 NCAA Tournament. The Big 12 Conference led all conferences with seven teams selected. The Pac-10 has the most seeded teams with five (third-seeded Washington, fourth-seeded Arizona, fifth-seeded Stanford, 12th-seeded USC, 16th-seeded UCLA). The Big Ten has three, followed by the Big 12, SEC and Big East with two each.
SINGLE-SEASON RECORDS: Several Wildcats rank in the Top 10 in the Arizona single season record books thus far in the season. Senior Kim Glass ranks second in 10+ kill matches (27), third in kills per game (5.35), 20+ kills matches (11) and total attempts (1,270), fourth in kills (519) and tied for ninth in service aces per game (0.40). Sophomore Dominique Lamb is 10th in block assists (109), while setter Amy Dyck is 10th in assists per game (11.77). Freshman Brittany Leonard currently holds the record for digs per game (3.80).
As a team, this year’s squad ranks first in service aces (149), third in assists per game (14.99), fifth in kills per game (16.37) and eighth in digs per game (15.73).
GLASS, ABERNATHY NAMED ALL-PAC-10: Arizona seniors Kim Glass and Jennifer Abernathy were named to the 15-member All-Pacific-10 team. Meanwhile, senior Bre Ladd, junior Kristina Baum and sophomore Dominique Lamb were honorable mention selections, and libero Brittany Leonard was named honorable mention All-Freshman.
BUTKUS, LAMB NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-PAC-10: Junior Stephanie Butkus and sophomore Dominique Lamb were named honorable mention Academic All-Pacific-10. Butkus, a setter, boasts a 3.115 GPA as an engineering management major, while the middle blocker Lamb, a pre-health education major, has a 3.000 GPA.
POLL POSITION: Arizona has been ranked in the Top 25 in 116 of the last 125 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Polls. The nine-week lapse occurred during the 2003 season.
The Wildcats’ current No. 6 ranking is the team’s best since being selected No. 6 in the 2002 preseason poll. The last time Arizona was ranked this high during the season was for the last seven weeks of the 2001 season, when the Wildcats were No. 4.
RANKING IN THE PAC: Individually, several Wildcats ranked in the Top 10 in conference matches in various statistical categories. Senior Kim Glass led the Pac-10 in points per game (6.66) and kills per game (5.78), and ranked third in service aces per game (0.40). Senior Jennifer Abernathy ranked sixth in kills per game (4.13), seventh in points per game (4.85) and eighth in service aces per game (0.36). Sophomore Dominique Lamb ranked fifth in blocks per game (1.28) and seventh in hitting percentage (.318). Sophomore Amy Dyck was second in assists per game (13.18), while freshman Brittany Leonard was eighth in digs per game (3.92).
CONFERENCE ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS: Arizona boasts several of the Pac-10’s active career statistical leaders. Senior Kim Glass is the current leader in kills (2,045) and service aces (157), and ranks seventh in digs (1,102). Fellow senior Bre Ladd ranks second in blocks (439), third in service aces (110) and ninth in kills (1,056). Jennifer Abernathy ranks seventh in kills (1,114) and tied for fourth in service aces (92), while setter Stephanie Butkus ranks fourth in assists (2,745).
RANKING NATIONALLY: As a team, Arizona ranks 23rd nationally in hitting percentage (.264), and 25th in kills per game (16.37), assists per game (14.99) and win/loss percentage (.815). Senior Kim Glass ranks seventh in kills per game (5.35).
20-WIN MARK: The Wildcats have reached the 20-win plateau this season for the 15th time in program history and the ninth time under Head Coach David Rubio.
DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Senior Kim Glass leads the Wildcats with 18 double-doubles this year, while senior Jennifer Abernathy has 13. Sophomore Amy Dyck has five, while junior Kristina Baum has three. Senior Bre Ladd and sophomore Dominique Lamb have one apiece.
GLASS ENTERS PAC-10 ELITE: In the match against UCLA on Nov. 19, senior Kim Glass tallied her 2,000th career kill, making her the first Wildcat and just the fourth Pac-10 player ever to do so. The Pennsylvania native also ranks third all-time in the Pac-10 record books in kills per game (5.23) and total attacks (4,935), tied for fifth in service aces per game (0.40) and seventh in service aces (157).
DOMINATING AT McKALE: Arizona won 11 of its 12 home matches this season, with its only loss at McKale coming in five games to No. 2 and then-undefeated Washington. What’s more, the Wildcats swept eight of their 11 matches at home. The last time Arizona lost just one home match was during the 2001 season, when it went 12-1 at McKale. The Wildcats’ only home loss that year was a five-game defeat at the hands of No. 3 Stanford.
PUTTING UP BIG NUMBERS: Senior Kim Glass has put up some remarkable numbers in her four seasons at Arizona. She has 101 matches with 10 or more kills, 51 matches with 20 or more kills and seven matches with 30 or more kills. Fellow senior Jennifer Abernathy has 60 matches on her career where she’s posted double-digit kills. She also has eight matches with 20 or more kills.
WILDCATS RANK NATIONALLY IN ATTENDANCE: Arizona currently ranks No. 18 nationally in attendance with an average of 1,699. Only Washington (2,888) and Stanford (2,133) from the Pac-10 rank higher.
REACHING MILESTONES: Senior Jennifer Abernathy recorded her 1,110th career kill last Friday at Oregon and her 800th career dig at Oregon State on Saturday. Junior Kristina Baum tallied her 400th career dig last Friday at Oregon. Senior Kim Glass notched her 1,100th career dig at Oregon State last Saturday. Sophomore Katie Jackels notched her 100th career dig vs. Oregon last Friday. Freshman Brittany Leonard tallied her 300th career dig at Oregon State last Saturday.
CLOSING IN: Senior Jennifer Abernathy is eight service aces shy of 100 and nine attempts away from 2700 on her career. Senior Angie Ayers is six kills shy of 75 and four blocks away from 100 on her career. Junior Kristina Baum is eight blocks shy of 200 on her career. Sophomore Amy Dyck is 23 assists shy of 1,200, 21 kills away from 100, 15 digs shy of 200 and two blocks away from 50 on her career. Senior Kim Glass is nine assists away from 100, 28 blocks shy of 300 and 65 attempts away from 5,000 on her career. Senior Bre Ladd is three assists away from 75 and 11 blocks shy of 450 on her career. Sophomore Dominique Lamb is 23 blocks away from 200 on her career.
THREE CURRENT WILDCATS HAVE 1,000 KILLS: While senior Kim Glass captured the Arizona career kills record against Washington State on Oct. 28, two other seniors, Bre Ladd and Jennifer Abernathy surpassed the 1,000-kill mark, becoming just the 14th and 15th Wildcats ever to do so.
GLASS JOINS 1,000-KILL, 1,000-DIG CLUB: Against USC on Oct. 22, senior Kim Glass became just the fifth Wildcat ever to surpass the 1,000-kill and 1,000-dig mark. She currently has 2,045 kills and 1,102 digs on her career. The Pennsylvania native joined Terry Lauchner (1987-1990), Barb Bell (1993-96), Jill Talbot (1998-2001) and Lisa Rutledge (1999-2002) as the only Arizona players ever to accomplish the feat. Lauchner finished her career with 1,636 kills and 1,297 digs. Bell tallied 1,859 kills and 1,046 digs. Talbot finished with 1,022 kills and 1,111 digs. Rutledge notched 1,471 kills and 1,006 digs.
LEONARD SHATTERING RECORDS: Libero Brittany Leonard has made an enormous mark on the UA record books. Just a freshman, her current average of 3.80 digs per game ranks first all-time in the Arizona single season record books ahead of Kelli Mulvany’s 3.46 average a year ago.
SERVING UP ACES: Senior Kim Glass currently has 157 service aces on her career, good for second place all-time at Arizona. She needs just three more to move into a tie for first place with Kiyomi Morino (1984-87) with 160.
BLOCKING MACHINE: Senior Bre Ladd has been a consistent defensive threat at the net ever since she arrived on campus in the fall of 2002. She has at least one block in 117 of 123 career matches, including 29 of 33 last season and 26 of 27 matches this season. What’s more, the Tucson native currently has 439 total blocks on her career, good for third place all-time at Arizona behind Kelly Waage (532) and associate head coach Charita Johnson-Stubbs (506).
GLASS’ STREAKS: Senior Kim Glass has at least three kills and three digs in 111 of the 113 matches on her career. She has recorded double-digit kills in all but 10 (103 of 113) matches during her four years. In fact, she’s the only player in the Pac-10 to have 10 or more kills in every match this season.
RUBIO BECOMES ALL-TIME WINS LEADER: With the Wildcats’ victory over Connecticut on Sept. 16, Head Coach Dave Rubio notched his 259th career win at Arizona, making him the all-time winningest coach in Arizona volleyball history. The win moved him ahead of Rosie Wegrich, who coached from 1977-1991 and compiled a 258-229-9 record (.531) in 15 seasons. Rubio now boasts a career record of 275-140 (.663) in 14 years at the helm.
STACKED SCHEDULE: As always, Arizona has faced a tough schedule in 2005. Included on the slate were 15 matches against teams that will participate in this year’s NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats also faced six teams (Santa Clara, Washington, Stanford, California, USC and UCLA) that are currently ranked in the Top 25 in the AVCA/CSTV Coaches Poll.
PAC-10 POTPOURRI: With Stanford capturing the NCAA title last season, the Pac-10 has now won four consecutive national championships (Stanford in 2004 and 2001, USC in 2003 and 2002). What’s more, Pac-10 teams have claimed 12 of the sport’s 24 NCAA championships.
UP NEXT: Should Arizona win its first-round match, it will face the winner of the Utah-Loyola Marymount match in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3.