Oct. 21, 2008
The Arizona volleyball team (13-6, 3-4 Pac-10) travels to Oregon to take on another pair of top-25 teams when it plays No. 24 Oregon State (13-7, 2-5) Friday night at 7:00 p.m. in Corvallis, Ore. and No. 7 Oregon (15-4, 4-3) on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m in Eugene, Ore.
Scouting the Opposition:
Oregon State- The No. 24 Beavers are coming off a split of the Washington schools last weekend. OSU beat Washington State 3-1 and lost to Washington 3-0. Oregon State cracked the top-25 two weeks again and have remained there ever since. OSU is near the bottom of most of the statistical categories in the conference, but are led by Rachel Rourke, who averages 3.99 kills per set, good enough for fourth in the league.
Oregon- The No. 7 Ducks also come into this weekend’s match having split with the Washington schools last weekend. Oregon beat WSU 3-0 and fell to UW 3-2. Oregon is near the top of several offensive categories, including third in hitting percentage (.295) and kills (13.98 per set). The Ducks are led by Katie Swoboda, who leads the conference in digs with 5.18 per set and Gorana Maricic who is second in the league in kills (4.23 per set) and points (4.81 per set).
Oregon State – This will be the 46th match-up between the two schools, with the Wildcats holding a significant 34-11 edge over the Beavers. The teams split last year’s matches with each squad winning at home. Prior to last season’s loss to Oregon State, Arizona had won 22 straight against the Beavers, which dated back to 1996.
Oregon – The Wildcats and Ducks have met 47 times heading into Saturday’s match. Arizona holds a 36-11 edge, but Oregon won both matches last season. That was the first time since 1991, that Oregon had swept Arizona and the first time in coach Rubio’s tenure at Arizona.
USC @ Arizona: The Wildcats earned their first win against a ranked opponent when they knocked off the No. 11 Women of Troy 3-2 in McKale Center. The Wildcats fell behind and won the final two sets to pull off the upset 21-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-16 and 16-14. Sophomore Whitney Dosty had one of her best games as a Wildcat, recording a season-high 20 kills with a career-high .429 hitting percentage. Arizona also had its best hitting percentage as a team since putting up a .352 clip against Texas Tech.
UCLA @ Arizona: Arizona dropped its fourth straight match with a 3-1 loss to No. 10 UCLA. Sophomore Tiffany Owens did her best to keep the Wildcats in the match, recording 23 kills and 14 digs, but it wasn’t enough as the Wildcats fell 25-15, 20-25, 25-21and 25-22. Arizona struggled with a .156 hitting clip and got very little production out of anyone but Owens and senior Brooke Buringrud, who recorded 10 kills.
Rough Stretch – Arizona continues its streak of games against ranked opponents. The Wildcats play their sixth and seventh straight games against teams in the top-25. The team is 1-4 in the current stretch with their lone win coming to No. 11 USC.
The Real T.O. –In the Wildcats 3-1 loss to UCLA, sophomore Tiffany Owens recorded a team, season-high with 23 kills. The outside hitter was just two kills behind her career-high of 25 and it was the first time in 2008 a Wildcat went over the 20 kill mark. In the two contests against the LA schools, Owens recorded 41 kills, which was the best two match stretch by a Wildcat this season. Owens is currently second on the team in kills with 2.97 a set and second in digs at 2.66 a set.
Dosty’s best? – According to head coach Dave Rubio, sophomore Whitney Dosty played her best match of her young Wildcat career when she recorded 20 kills with a .429 hitting percentage in the team’s 3-2 upset over No. 11 USC. The .429 mark was a career high for the outside hitter and making the performance even more impressive was the fact that she played just one set in the team’s previous match and didn’t record a kill, with three errors on five attempts and a -.600 hitting percentage. Dosty continues to lead the team in kills with 3.08 per set.
Cover Paige –The sophomore setter has been the team’s most contestant player all season. She leads the team in assists with 699 in 19 matches and is coming off a season-high 61 assists in the team’s win over USC. That mark was just two assists below her career-high of 63 set last season as a freshman against St. Mary’s. Weber is sixth in the Pac 10 in assists per set at 10.43. She is also third in the league in aces per serve at 0.34. Weber has won two tournament MVP awards this season, one in the opening Wildcat Classic and one in the CSU Bakersfield Invitational.
Watch your Ace –The Wildcats were taking over by Oregon as the Pac-10 leader in aces pre set. The Wildcat are now number two in the conference with 1.43 aces per set, followed closely by Oregon at 1.45 per set.
Block party – The 2008 Wildcats have been a team known for their blocks. Arizona continues to lead the Pac-10 in blocks-per-set with 2.70. They are actually tied with Oregon in this category.Arizona recorded a season-high 15 blocks in their 3-0 win over ASU. Sophomore Stephanie Snow is seventh in the league in blocks with 1.12 per set, while Arizona is 14th in the nation in blocks (2.7 per set). Snow picked up a career-high 10 blocks in the 3-0 win over ASU.
Double-Double X 3 (Correction) – Sophomore setter Paige Weber was one of three Wildcats to record a double-double in the team’s loss at Colorado State with 46 assists and 12 digs. In previous releases, only senior Brooke Buringrud (12 kills, 13 digs) and sophomore Tiffany Owens (14 kills, 10 digs) were credited with double-doubles.
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 269 digs from the career leader Terry Lauchner who has 1,297, while Leonard sits at 1,028.
Arizona’s place – The Wildcats sit tied for first in the conference in blocks (2.7 per set), second in services aces (1.43 per set) and third in opponents hitting percentage (.159). Nationally, the team is 14th in blocks per set and 90th 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, but are climbing back up the rankings. Arizona is currently in 26th in the poll.
Pac-10 in the Top-25 – For the fourth week in a row, the Pac-10 has seven teams in the top-25 and eight in the top-26. Cal sits at the top at number four, Stanford’s at five, Washington is sixth, Oregon seventh, UCLA tenth, USC 14th and Oregon State rounds out the squads at 24th.
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.
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 318-181 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 440-247 career record.