THIS WEEK: The fourth-seeded Arizona volleyball team (24-5) will face No. 15 Ohio (33-2) in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament at 7 p.m. (PST) this Friday, Dec. 9, at Maples Pavilion on the Stanford campus. The other regional semifinal match pits No. 19 Pepperdine (19-11) against No. 11 Santa Clara (25-4) at 4:30 p.m. Winners of the two matches will face off in the Elite Eight at 8 p.m. (PST) Saturday, Dec. 10.
Live stats of the match are available by clicking here.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA: The No. 5 Wildcats are 24-5 on the season, with all five losses coming at the hands of ranked teams. Arizona, which has won seven in a row, finished second in the Pac-10 with a 14-4 record, its best conference mark since 2001.
This is Arizona’s seventh appearance in Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and fifth in the last seven seasons. The Wildcats’ last Sweet 16 appearance came during the 2002 season. Last weekend, Arizona swept past Utah State (30-26, 30-27, 30-20) in the first round before defeating host Utah in four games (30-28, 30-26, 28-30, 30-27) in the second round.
The Wildcats are led this season by senior Kim Glass, who averages 5.35 kills, 3.01 digs, 0.80 blocks and 0.39 service aces per game. Senior Jennifer Abernathy adds 4.09 kills and 3.38 digs per game, while junior Kristina Baum averages 2.48 kills, 1.91 digs and 0.70 blocks per game. Sophomore Dominique Lamb leads the team with 1.29 blocks per game and a .338 hitting percentage, while libero Brittany Leonard has a team-high 3.74 digs-per-game average. Setter Amy Dyck is averaging 11.92 assists per game. As a team, Arizona is out-hitting its opponents .269 to .179. The Wildcats also average better than their opponents in kills (16.50 to 13.76), assists (15.14 to 12.48), digs (15.59 to 14.25) and blocks (2.92 to 1.93).
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
Ohio - The Bobcats are 33-2 on the season, setting the school and Mid-American Conference records for wins in a season. Ohio, which has won 25 straight matches, swept 24 of its 35 opponents and is 2-1 against ranked teams.
This is Ohio’s third appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first-ever trip to the Sweet 16, having defeated Alabama 3-1 (28-30, 30-18, 30-22, 30-23) in the first round and sweeping past Ohio State (30-27, 30-23, 30-22) in the second round, avenging a second-round loss to the Buckeyes last season.
Ohio has four players that average 3.00 or more kills, led by Julia Winkfield with 3.85. Winkfield also ranks 25th nationally in hitting percentage (.375). Stephanie Blackburn and Melissa Griffin each add 3.63 kills per game, while Holly Schetzsle averages 3.24. Setter Savanah Parra ranks second in the nation in assists per game (14.86), while libero Michaele Blackburn leads the team with 5.14 digs per game.
As a team, the Bobcats are hitting .294 on the season, compared to the .162 of their opponents. Ohio leads the nation in assists per game (16.70) and kills per game (17.89), and ranks 10th in hitting percentage (.294).
Pepperdine - The Waves jumped into the national rankings at No. 19 this week after defeating No. 22 BYU in four games (30-24, 30-28, 24-30, 30-28) and sweeping past host and No. 12 USC (30-28, 30-28, 30-23) last weekend in the first and second rounds.
Pepperdine is making its 17th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament and eighth in the last nine years. The Waves made it to the Sweet 16 in 1998, 1999 and 2003, and advanced to the Elite Eight in 2002.
Pepperdine is led by Julie Rubenstein with 4.18 kills per game. Three-time All-West Coast Conference outside hitter Sophia Milo adds 3.26 kills and 1.41 blocks per game, while setter Melissa Mehlhorn dishes out 12.09 assists per game. Libero Kekai Crabbe leads the team with 3.59 digs per game.
As a team, Pepperdine is out-hitting its opponents .239 to .183. The Waves also post better averages than their opponents in kills (16.04 to 14.27), assists (14.66 to 13.21), digs (15.90 to 15.26) and blocks (3.23 to 2.58). The Waves rank 14th nationally in blocks per game.
Santa Clara - The West Coast Conference champion Broncos, who handed Arizona its only non-conference loss of the season, are 25-4 on the year, but just 3-3 over the last six matches.
This is Santa Clara’s eighth-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, but first-ever trip to the Sweet 16. The Broncos defeated Sacramento State in four games (23-30, 30-23, 30-20, 30-23) in the first round before beating fifth-seeded Stanford on its home court in the second round (23-30, 30-19, 30-27, 31-29). The win over the Cardinal was the first in 20 attempts by Santa Clara.
The Broncos are led by WCC Player of the Year Cassie Perret, who averages 3.29 kills and 2.14 digs per game, while hitting at .374 clip, which ranks 26th in the country. All-WCC picks Kim McGiven and Anna Cmaylo average 4.16 and 3.28 kills per game, respectively. Cmaylo also leads the team with 1.21 blocks per game. WCC Freshman of the Year Brittany Lowe averages 3.49 kills and 3.11 digs per game. She also has recorded a team-leading 14 double doubles on the year. Setter Crystal Matich dishes out 14.09 assists per game, fourth-best in the nation.
As a team, the Broncos rank fourth nationally in assists (16.08), ninth in kills (16.93) and 11th in hitting percentage (.291).
Ohio - This is the first-ever meeting between the Wildcats and the Bobcats.
Pepperdine - Arizona is 6-6 all-time vs. the Wave. The two teams last met on Sept. 10, 2004, with the Wildcats sweeping in Tucson. The Wildcats are 1-2 at home, 3-1 on the road and 2-3 at a neutral site vs. Pepperdine.
Santa Clara - Arizona is 4-2 all-time vs. Santa Clara. The two teams last met on Sept. 9, 2005, with the Wildcats falling in Santa Clara, 3-1, in the Bronco Invitational. Arizona is 2-1 at home, 0-1 away and 2-0 at a neutral site vs. Santa Clara.
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 218-248 (.468) 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 25-20 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
POWERFUL PAC: The Pac-10 joined 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 (third-seeded Washington, fourth-seeded Arizona and 16th-seeded UCLA) and Big Ten (second-seeded Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin) each have three teams remaining in the tournament. The West Coast Conference, SEC, Big East and Big 12 each have two teams left.
RUBIO ONE AWAY FROM 400 CAREER WINS: Head Coach David Rubio is one win away from 400 on his career. In 19 years as a head coach, Rubio has compiled a 399-206 (.660) record. He is 277-140 (.664) at Arizona and was 122-66 (.649) at Cal State Bakersfield from 1987-1991.
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 (29) and total attempts (1,358), tied for second in kills (556), third in kills per game (5.35) and 20+ kills matches (12), and tied for 10th in service aces per game (0.39). Senior Jennifer Abernathy is fourth in digs per game (3.38) and eighth in digs (351). Sophomore Dominique Lamb is seventh in block assists (119) and tied for 10th in blocks per game (1.26), while setter Amy Dyck is 10th in assists per game (11.92). Freshman Brittany Leonard currently holds the record for digs per game (3.74).
As a team, this year’s squad ranks first in service aces (160), third in assists per game (15.14), kills per game (16.50) and hitting percentage (.269), tied for eighth in total blocks (304.0), tied for ninth in blocks per game (2.92) and 10th in digs per game (15.59).
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 117 of the last 126 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Polls. The nine-week lapse occurred during the 2003 season. The Wildcats’ current No. 5 ranking is the team’s best since 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 (2,082) and service aces (159), and ranks seventh in digs (1,124). Fellow senior Bre Ladd ranks second in blocks (450), third in service aces (113) and ninth in kills (1,063). Jennifer Abernathy ranks seventh in kills (1,146) and tied for fourth in service aces (93), while setter Stephanie Butkus ranks third in assists (2,752).
RANKING NATIONALLY: As a team, Arizona ranks 19th nationally in kills per game (16.50), 20th in hitting percentage (.269), and 22nd in assists per game (15.14) and win/loss percentage (.828). Senior Kim Glass ranks seventh in kills per game (5.35).
REACHING MILESTONES: Sophomore Amy Dyck recorded her 50th career block vs. Utah State last Friday. Senior Kim Glass notched her 5,000th career attempt, while senior Bre Ladd recorded her 450th career block at Utah last Saturday.
CLOSING IN: Senior Jennifer Abernathy is seven service aces shy of 100 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 one block shy of 200 on her career. Sophomore Amy Dyck is 26 assists shy of 1,300, 26 kills away from 100 and seven digs shy of 200 on her career. Senior Kim Glass is five assists away from 100 and 22 blocks shy of 300 on her career. Senior Bre Ladd is two assists away from 75 on her career. Sophomore Dominique Lamb is 10 kills away from 250, 11 digs shy of 50 and 13 blocks away from 200 on her career.
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 second all-time in the Pac-10 record books in total attacks (5,018), third in kills per game (5.23), tied for sixth in service aces (159) and seventh in service aces per game (0.39).
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 19 double-doubles this year, while senior Jennifer Abernathy has 15. Sophomore Amy Dyck has five, while junior Kristina Baum has three. Senior Bre Ladd and sophomore Dominique Lamb have one apiece.
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.
WILDCATS RANK NATIONALLY IN ATTENDANCE: Arizona currently ranks No. 17 nationally in attendance with an average of 1,699. Only Washington (2,888) and Stanford (2,133) from the Pac-10 rank higher.
PUTTING UP BIG NUMBERS: Senior Kim Glass has put up some remarkable numbers in her four seasons at Arizona. She has 103 matches with 10 or more kills, 52 matches with 20 or more kills and seven matches with 30 or more kills. Fellow senior Jennifer Abernathy has 62 matches on her career where she’s posted double-digit kills. She also has nine matches with 20 or more kills.
LEONARD SHATTERING RECORDS: Libero Brittany Leonard has made an enormous mark on the UA record books. Just a freshman, her current average of 3.74 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.
GLASS’ STREAKS: Senior Kim Glass has at least three kills and three digs in 113 of the 115 matches on her career. She has recorded double-digit kills in all but 10 (105 of 115) 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.
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 119 of 125 career matches, including 29 of 33 last season and 28 of 29 matches this season. What’s more, the Tucson native currently has 450 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).
SERVING UP ACES: Senior Kim Glass currently has 159 service aces on her career, good for second place all-time at Arizona. She needs just one more to move into a tie for first place with Kiyomi Morino (1984-87) with 160.
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 277-140 (.664) in 14 years at the helm.
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 2,082 kills and 1,124 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.
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.
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 regional semifinal match, it will face the winner of the Pepperdine-Santa Clara match in the Elite Eight at 8 p.m. (PST) Saturday, Dec. 10.