The No. 18 Arizona volleyball team travels to Louisville, Ky., for the Courtyard by Marriott Airport East Classic this Friday-Saturday, Sept. 1-2. The Wildcats’ tournament schedule is as follows:
Sept. 1 Fri. vs. Tennessee Tech 5 p.m. (EDT)
Sept. 2 Sat. vs. Dayton 10 a.m. (EDT)
at No. 12 Louisville 7:30 p.m. (EDT)
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA:
The Wildcats claimed the title of the Four Points Sheraton Arizona Invitational with sweeps of Siena (30-21, 30-25, 30-27) and Northern Colorado (30-15, 30-15, 30-18), and a four-game win over San Francisco (32-30, 30-, 24-30, 30-25). Sophomore Brooke Buringrud was named tournament MVP after averaging 3.10 kills, 2.80 digs and 0.70 service aces. Freshman Whitney Dosty and junior Dominique Lamb were also named to the all-tournament team. Dosty averaged 3.50 kills, 0.90 digs and 0.80 blocks, while Lamb averaged 2.20 kills, 1.60 blocks, 0.50 digs and 0.40 service aces.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
Tennessee Tech - The Golden Eagles (1-2) defeated Maine 3-1 (30-16, 21-30, 30-25, 30-27), before being swept by No. 10 UCLA (18-30, 18-30, 20-30) and Western Michigan (14-30, 26-30, 26-30). Senior outside hitter Laura Tyburski was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 2.30 kills and 2.60 digs per game.
As a team, Tennessee Tech trails its opponents in every statistical category - kills (11.30 to 16.10), hitting percentage (.125 to .227), assists (10.90 to 14.90), service aces (1.30 to 2.10), digs (16.90 to 19.10) and blocks (1.80 to 2.00).
Dayton - The Flyers (3-0) claimed the title at the Dayton Flyer Classic last weekend with sweeps of Youngstown State (30-17, 30-10, 30-18), Southern Illinois (30-20, 30-22, 30-27) and IUPUI (30-21, 30-21, 30-21). Redshirt freshman Chauntay Mickens was named tournament MVP after averaging 2.78 kills, 0.78 digs, 0.89 blocks and 0.33 service aces. Setter Erin Schroeder and middle blocker Faye Barhorst were also named to the all-tournament team. Schroeder averaged 11.33 assists and 2.44 digs, while Barhorst averaged 3.56 kills and 1.78 blocks over the three matches.
As a team, Dayton is bettering its opponents in every statistical category - kills (15.44 to 11.67), hitting percentage (.289 to .073), assists (15.00 to 11.33), service aces (2.67 to 0.67), digs (19.67 to 18.11) and blocks (3.39 to 1.33).
Louisville - The Cardinals (2-1) finished in second place in the Hampton Inn Downtown Classic last weekend after sweeping Jacksonville (30-18, 30-21, 30-16) and Missouri-Kansas City (30-19, 30-25, 30-18). Louisville opened the tournament with a 3-2 loss (30-28, 25-30, 30-25, 29-31, 14-16) to Jacksonville State, which snapped a 27-match home winning streak. Rui Liu and Stephanie Marsh were both named to the all-tournament team. Liu averaged 1.73 blocks, 1.36 kills and 1.09 digs, while Marsh put up averages of 2.91 kills and 0.82 assists.
As a team, Louisville is out-hitting its opponents .296 to .124 and out-blocking them 3.82 to 1.45.
Tennessee Tech - This is the first-ever meeting between Arizona and the Golden Eagles.
Dayton - Arizona has never faced the Flyers before.
Louisville - Arizona leads the all-time series with the Cardinals 2-1. In the two teams’ last meeting on Sept. 11, 2004, the Wildcats won 3-1 in Tucson. Arizona is 2-0 at home and 0-1 on the road vs. Louisville.
In just her third year playing volleyball, freshman outside hitter Whitney Dosty demonstrated her athleticism last weekend as she led the team with a 3.50 kills-per-game average and was named to the all-tournament team.
DYCK IN A NEW ROLE:
After spending the majority of last season as the starting setter for Arizona, junior Amy Dyck finds herself in a new position. The Sandpoint, Idaho, native showed her leaping ability last weekend as an opposite. In three matches, she averaged 1.80 digs and 1.30 kills.
LEONARD AT LIBERO:
As a freshman last season, Brittany Leonard set the Arizona single season record for digs per game at 3.70. In three matches this year, the sophomore is averaging 3.56 digs per game.
Arizona is ranked No. 18 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA)/College Sports Television (CSTV) Preseason Coaches Poll. The Wildcats are one of six Pac-10 schools ranked in the Top 25. Arizona has been ranked in the Top 25 in 118 of the last 127 polls, dating back to the 1998 season. The nine-week lapse occurred during the 2003 season.
Head Coach Dave Rubio boasts a 281-141 record (.666) in 15 seasons at the helm of the Wildcat program. Last year, he not only became the winningest coach in Arizona history, but he notched his 400th career victory in the team’s win over Ohio in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. In 20 years as a head coach, Rubio has a 403-207 (.661) record.
Senior Kristina Baum is 13 kills away from 600, while senior Stephanie Butkus is 21 kills away from 200. Junior Amy Dyck is 20 assists away from 1,400 on her career. Junior Dominique Lamb is 28 kills shy of 300 and 13 attempts away from 600 on her career. Sophomore Brittany Leonard is 13 digs shy of 400 on her career.
Senior Stephanie Butkus recorded her 2800th career assist vs. Northern Colorado last Friday, while sophomore Brooke Buringrud notched her 100th career attempt vs. San Francisco on Saturday. Junior Amy Dyck recorded her 100th kill vs. USF last Saturday, while junior Dominique Lamb notched her 200th career block vs. Siena last Friday.
PAC-10 ACTIVE LEADERS:
Senior Kristina Baum ranks fifth among active players in the Pac-10 in blocks, while senior Stephanie Butkus is third in assists. Junior Amy Dyck, meanwhile, is seventh in assists.
BIG SHOES TO FILL:
With the graduation of all-time kills leader and three-time All-American Kim Glass, third-team All-American Jennifer Abernathy and four-time All-Pac-10 selection Bre Ladd, Arizona lost a considerable amount of not only its offense, but its defense, as well. The trio accounted for 71 percent of last year’s service aces, 70 percent of the kills and 46 percent of the team’s digs.
As always, Arizona faces a tough schedule this season. The Wildcats play 14 matches against nine teams that competed in last year’s NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats will also face six teams (California, Louisville, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington) that are ranked in the Top 25 in the preseason AVCA/CSTV Coaches Poll. The Pac-10 schedule will again be difficult as the conference continues to show its dominance. Last year, six Pac-10 teams competed in the NCAA Tournament and all six advanced to the second round. Three teams advanced to the Sweet 16, two to the Elite Eight and Washington won the national championship.
With Washington capturing the NCAA title last season, the Pac-10 has now won five consecutive national championships (Washington in 2005, Stanford in 2004 and 2001, USC in 2003 and 2002), including the last three by three different teams. What’s more, Pac-10 teams have claimed 13 of the sport’s 25 NCAA championships.
RECRUITING CLASS RANKED FOURTH:
Arizona’s 2006 freshman class was selected as the fourth-best in the country by PrepVolleyball.com. The group is comprised of seven players - Jayme Allen (San Diego, Calif.), Kara Bauman (Tucson, Ariz.), Whitney Dosty (Tucson, Ariz.), Ashley Hamilton (Alpine, Utah), Makenzie Mullin (Overland Park, Kan.), Jacy Norton (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Alanna Resch (Solana Beach, Calif.) - and will attempt to fill the holes left by the departure of a class that four years ago was rated No. 1 nationally.
Arizona was picked to finish sixth in the Pac-10 in a preseason vote of the league’s 10 head coaches, receiving 48 points. Stanford and UCLA, both of which Arizona swept last season, were picked to finish first and second, respectively. The Cardinal received eight first-place votes and 89 total points, while the Bruins tallied two first-place votes and 79 points. Defending national champion Washington was picked to finish third with 76 points. California and USC followed in fourth and fifth place with 64 and 62 points, respectively. Rounding out the poll were Oregon State (41), Oregon (32), Arizona State (30) and Washington State (19). The coaches have correctly picked the Pac-10 champion in 10 of the previous 17 polls. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team.
Arizona returns home to host the Four Points Sheraton Wildcat Classic next Friday-Saturday, Sept. 8-9, where it will face Bradley, Montana State and Rice.