Sept. 17, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. - The Arizona Volleyball team was able to take care of business on the first day of the Arizona Invitational, sweeping Pepperdine in the night cap of the tournament to improve its overall record to 9-2. Set scores Friday evening were 27-25, 25-16, 25-20.
"Pepperdine played really well," said Dave Rubio. "They are a young team. Their emotions tend to take over. The first game was really close and if they would have won it would have been tougher."
The sweep, usually indicative of a dominate performance, was a little deceiving as the match was much closer than it would appear. In the first set of play, either team could have taken the advantage, as UA ultimately gained the 1-0 edge on an ace from Courtney Karst to win 27-25.
After trading sides, Arizona had its best set of the day, forcing the Waves into costly mistakes while capitalizing on terrific serves to keep the opposition on its heels. The Cats would go on to win the set 25-16 and go up 2-0.
Returning from intermission, UA built up a 19-14 lead of Pepperdine but seemed to just be coasting to an easy victory. The Waves however wouldn't concede as they continued to hang around and eventually cut Arizona margin to just three. Eventually though, the Arizona offense was just too much for Pepperdine to overcome as UA won the set 25-20 and the match overall 3-0.
"I don't think we are where we need to be," added Rubio. "The first game could have gone either way. We had two good weeks of practice, but not where we need to be. We need to be better in the transition game, which Paige (Weber) needs to work on that. I'm pleased at what we were doing about our blocking. Courtney (Karst) hung in there. She started out rough and fought through some things."
Statistically, the Cats distributed things well with Courtney Karst, Whitney Dosty, Cursty Jackson and Tiffany Owens all earning at least seven kills. Jackson and Karst, along with Maddie Lozano were big of the defensive end as well for Arizona as the team totaled 12 blocks on the night.
"At the beginning I know my blocking was a little shaky so I needed to step back and take a deep breathe," said Karst. "We needed to stop No. 13 (Kim Hill) and get our hands over fast to try and stop them. Every single day we practice on blocking. It's a big part of what we practice."
Jackson and Karst paced the Wildcats through the night with 24.5 of the team's 50 total points
"It's a day-to-day thing for me," said Jackson. "I need to concentrate more on closing blocks and calling out my hitters. I still need to work on that. It just feels great to win. Winning feels good. Just getting a block stuff is like the best thing ever in volleyball."
Tomorrow, UA will cap off the Arizona Invitational with a 12:30 match against New Mexico State at McKale Center. Admission is free to the public.