Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Cats To Host Trio in Arizona Invitational
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: September 17, 2010
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Sept. 16, 2010

Ahead This Week for UA Volleyball:  The Arizona Volleyball team is back home in McKale Center this weekend for its final tune-up before the Pac-10 conference schedule commences…In town this weekend is Pepperdine, New Mexico State and Texas State for the Arizona Invitational presented by Lodge on the Desert…The Cats will square off first against Texas State Friday at 12:30 p.m., then take on Pepperdine at 7 p.m. before finishing up with New Mexico State on Saturday afternoon…All matches this weekend will be free to the public except UA’s Friday evening tilt against The Waves of Pepperdine. General admission tickets for that match will be $6 at the McKale Ticket Office.

Full Arizona Invitational presented by Lodge on the Desert Schedule:
  Pepperdine vs. New Mexico State – Friday, 10:30 a.m.
  Arizona vs. Texas State – Friday, 12:30 p.m.

  Texas State vs. New Mexico State – Friday, 5 p.m.
  Arizona vs. Pepperdine – Friday, 7 p.m.

  Pepperdine vs. Texas State – Saturday, 10:30 a.m.
  Arizona vs. New Mexico State – Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

Last week: The Wildcats, like in the Shamrock Invitational to open the season, had another set back in the first match of the tournament, this time falling to Pacific 3-1, to start the weekend off.  But to its credit, the team rallied back and overwhelmed both Nevada and NAU to end the weekend at 2-1 at the Wolf Pack Invitational and improve its overall record to 7-2.

In the rankings:  The Wildcats fell out of the rankings for the first time this season after dropping its match against Pacific to start the Wolf Pack Invite.  UA did however receive 40 total points, good for 27th best in the AVCA national poll.  The Pac-10 now stands at six teams in the nation’s top 25, highlighted by the No. 1 team in the country, Stanford.  The Cardinal ended Penn State’s 109-match winning streak last weekend to take the Nittany Lions top spot.

Head Coach Dave Rubio …is in his 19th season as head coach of Arizona.  In that time span, Rubio has a record of 347-202. Rubio also boasts a career record of 469-268 in 24+ career years.  In the last ten seasons, Rubio has guided the Wildcats to five Sweet 16s, four Elite Eights and to Arizona’s first-ever Final Four. His teams have won over 200 matches during this ten-year stretch, including 16 in the NCAA Tournament, which is six more than the
previous 14 postseason teams combined.  Rubio is assisted by associate head coach Steve Walker, assistant coach Allison Napier and volunteer coach Melissa Ohta.

Active Wins Leader in the Pac:  Coach Rubio, in his 19th season with the Wildcats, is the active leader in Conference wins with 347.  The “dean” of Pac-10 head coaches, Rubio’s been at the helm of UA seven years longer than the second longest tenured coach (Cal’s Rich Feller). Rubio also owns a conference winning percentage of .630 in the always tough Pac-10 and has guided the Cats to 13 NCAA appearances.

COBRA Magazine Preseason All-Americans: Tiffany Owens was named to this season’s COBRA Magazine National Player of the Year Watch List. Owens is currently second on the team with 105 kills and first in digs with 90.  Also garnering praise from COBRA was hitter Whitney Dosty who was named to the publication’s All-American Preseason Second-Team list.
Watch TO’s Double-Double’s: One particular stat on note during the 2009 season was Tiffany Owens’ double-doubles.  When Owens amassed double-digit kills and digs, the Wildcats usually had success.  Let’s see if that stat holds true in 2010.   Currently, Owens has three double-double performances, good for third overall in the Pac-10.

Learning on the Fly: It has got to be quite the whirlwind experience for freshman Maddie Lozano.  Originally expected to be redshirting the season and playing the outside hitter position, Lozano was thrust into the starting lineup due to a series of injuries and players leaving the program.  The Roseville, Calif. product has been taking a crash course in front row-middle blocking as she tries to prepare for conference play.  If anything, this experience will make her that much more versatile in years to come.

Nicholson Earning The Minutes: Freshman libero Candace Nicholson has been earning some serious playing time as of late for the Wildcats.  The Long Beach, Calif. native currently shares time with senior Danielle Holloway as UA’s main back row defensive player.  Her ability will surely help Arizona as the season progresses.

Quite the Streak: Paige Weber has put together quite an impressive streak.  Weber has played in every set of her Wildcat career.  That amounts to 357 consecutive sets over three years.  The Wildcats will look to Weber’s durability again this season to take them to the postseason.  Weber also ranks second on the all-time UA assists list behind only Dana Burkholder

Karst Getting The Minutes:  Courtney Karst looks to weigh heavily on the Wildcats’ success in 2010.  An outside hitter out of Aurora, Colo., Karst will be a mainstay in the lineup after putting up 310 kills in 2009.  Appearing in 20 sets so far, Karst has 62 kills, 16 blocks, 27 digs and four aces.  Of particular note, when Karst hits for double-digit kills or posts a solid hitting percentage, its likely UA will be on the winning side of the net.

Action Jackson: Cursty Jackson is one of six newcomers for the Wildcats in 2010.  A transfer from UNLV by way of Los Angeles, Jackson attacks with force and great leaping ability.  Through nine matches, Jackson leads the team in total blocks with 41. Her quick set attacking ability with setter Paige Weber is an asset the Cats will be able to exploit come conference time.

A Few New Faces: In 2010, Arizona Volleyball welcomes in six newcomers to the line-up.  Freshman middle blockers Madeline Lozano and Tarryn Luafalemana will contend for immediate playing time along the front row while freshmen liberos Candace Nicholson and Emily Helm look to provide defensive depth.  Transfers Cursty Jackson (previously mentioned) and Marketa Hanzlova are also new on the roster for Arizona.

Pac-10 Preseason Poll: In this year’s Pac-10 Coaches Poll, Arizona was slated to finish fourth overall behind Stanford (1), Washington (2) and USC (3).  It’s the Wildcats highest poll position since the 2005 season.  Seven Conference teams were ranked among the AVCA preseason poll.  Currently six are in this week’s top 25.

Up Next: The Wildcats stay at home next weekend with Pac-10 play commencing.  The Bay Area schools, No. 10 California and No. 1 Stanford, will travel to the desert to face Arizona.  California will be in town Friday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. while the top-ranked Cardinal will make its lone appearance in Tucson on Sunday Sept. 26 at 1 p.m.

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