The Arizona-Arizona State rivalry weekend will officially start Friday, Nov. 24, as the Arizona women's volleyball team (13-16, 4-13 Pac-10) travels to Tempe, Ariz., to take on arch-rival Arizona State (14-14, 6-11 Pac-10) in the regular-season finale at 7 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena. The Wildcats look to redeem a 3-1 loss to the Sun Devils on Sept. 22 in McKale Center, as Arizona has won three of its last four matches.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA:
Arizona split its trip to the state of Washington this past weekend, as the Wildcats have now won three of its last four matches for the first time since Sept. 15. On Thursday, UA dropped a 3-1 decision (30-19, 30-25, 29-31, 30-19) to No. 2-ranked Washington, before beating Washington State on Friday night 3-1 (24-30, 30-22, 30-14, 31-29).
On the season, sophomore Brooke Buringrud leads the team with 3.54 kills per game, 0.35 service aces per game, and is third on the team with 2.48 digs per game. Freshman Whitney Dosty posts 3.41 kills per game, and junior Dominique Lamb adds 2.55 kills per game, a team-high .333 hitting percentage, and a team-best 1.58 blocks per game average. Sophomore libero Brittany Leonard averages a team-high 3.87 digs per game.
As a team, Arizona is hitting .184 on the season, averaging 14.28 kills per game, and a Pac-10 best 3.44 blocks per game.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
Arizona State - The Arizona State University Sun Devils (14-14, 6-11 Pac-10) enter Friday's matchup looking to stay above the .500 mark for a possible postseason berth. ASU won three-straight matches before getting swept by No. 2 Washington on Friday (30-22, 30-22, 30-23). As a team, ASU hits .199 and averages 14.87 kills, 2.68 blocks, 18.56 digs (tops in the Pac-10), and 1.28 service aces per game. Individually for the Sun Devils, senior Nicole Morton leads the team with 3.27 kills per game, and senior Nina Reeves adds 3.19 kpg. Head coach Brad Saidon is in his fourth season at the helm of the ASU program.
Arizona State - Friday's match will mark the 71st match in the all-time series between the two schools. Arizona holds a 36-34 series lead dating back to 1977. The Wildcats had won five straight matches against the Sun Devils, and 11 of the last 13, before losing 3-1 (30-21, 21-30, 30-25, 30-28) to ASU on Sept. 22 in McKale Center. Head coach Dave Rubio is 17-13 all-time against Arizona State. The Wildcats have won their last two-straight matches against the Sun Devils in Wells Fargo Arena.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10 AND NCAA:
Junior Dominique Lamb ranks second in the Pac-10 and 12th nationally in blocks (1.58), and ranks sixth in the Pac-10 with a .333 hitting percentage. Senior Stephanie Butkus is seventh in the conference in assists (11.59), while sophomore Brooke Buringrud is third in service aces (0.35). Freshman Jacy Norton is fourth in the conference in blocks (1.47), and sophomore Brittany Leonard is eighth in the Pac-10 in digs (3.87 dpg).
The Wildcats have excelled this season at providing plenty of rejections at the net, as Arizona ranks first in the Pac-10 Conference and second in the nation with 3.44 blocks per game. Arizona has posted double-digit team stuffs in 13 of its last 15 matches, and 21 of its last 24 matches. Against Stanford on Oct. 28, the Wildcats had their streak of eight-consecutive matches with double-digit blocks snapped with a total of 8.0 blocks. Arizona had a season-high 21 blocks against Arizona State on Sept. 22 and nearly matched that figure against UCLA on Oct. 6 and Cal on Oct. 27 when it finished with 20. Arizona finished with 19.0 blocks against USC, and had 19.0 blocks against Oregon on Thursday night. In 29 matches played this year, UA has finished with 10 or more blocks 23 times.
AW KITTY KITTY:
Arizona has been on fire in its last four matches, which has helped the Wildcats win three of four for the first time since Sept. 15. In its last four matches, Arizona has hit .254 (258-95-642), while averaging 16.12 kills, 3.09 blocks, 1.69 service aces, and 16.44 digs per game, numbers well above the team's season averages.
Arizona was on fire against Washington State on Friday night, using a season-high .323 hitting percentage (72-22-155) for a 3-1 win over the Cougars on the road. After a slow start in the first game, the Wildcats posted a .400 (18-4-35) mark in the second game, a .516 (18-2-31) hitting percentage in the third game, and a .317 (19-6-41) mark in the fourth and deciding game. The Wildcats posted 72 kills to the Cougars 57 in the match.
Junior middle blocker Dominique Lamb is working her way up the block charts at UA. With 366 total stuffs, Lamb is now sixth all-time at Arizona, and needs 10 more blocks to move past Trina Smith (1989-90, 92-93 - 375) for fifth all-time. Her current career average of 1.29 blocks per game places her second in school history behind only Kelly Waage (1.43). Lamb's 366 total blocks is currently third among all active Pac-10 players.
Freshman Whitney Dosty delivered when Arizona needed a big performance, helping to lead the Wildcats to back-to-back Pac-10 wins for the first time this season. Against No. 24 Oregon on Thursday night, the Tucson, Ariz., native posted a career-best 29 kills on a .365 (29-6-63) hitting percentage, as she became the first Wildcat this season to break the 20-kill plateau. Against Oregon State on Friday, Dosty finished with 13 kills and five blocks. For the week, Dosty finished with a team-best 42 kills and a .269 (42-13-108) hitting percentage.
In her last four matches, Dosty is averaging 4.50 kills per game to go with a .270 (72-25-174) hitting percentage. On the season, Dosty is averaging 3.41 kills a game.
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, playing opposite, is averaging 1.25 digs and 1.25 kills a game. Against Tennessee Tech, Dyck posted career highs of 14 kills and 17 digs.
LEONARD AT LIBERO:
As a freshman last season, Brittany Leonard set the Arizona single season record for digs per game at 3.70. In 29 matches this year, the sophomore is averaging a team-best 3.87 digs per game.
NORTON AT THE NET:
With the loss of MB Kristina Baum for the year, the Wildcats needed someone to step up, and freshman Jacy Norton has been that player. In the 22 matches since Baum went down with her knee injury, Norton is averaging 1.49 blocks per game, 1.79 kills and is hitting at a .234 clip, numbers that are very similar to Baum's prior to her injury (1.00 BPG, 1.59 KPG, .237 hitting percentage)
Arizona's trip to the state of Oregon (Oct. 12-13) was a huge week for individual milestones. Against Oregon State, sophomore Brooke Buringrud tallied 13 kills in route to her 250th career kill, and posted four blocks for the 40th of her career. Senior Stephanie Butkus posted her 3,500th career assist against the Beavers, and later earned her 600th dig against Washington State the following week. Freshman Whitney Dosty posted 10 kills against OSU on the way to the 200th kill in her career, while junior Katie Jackels notched her 275th career dig in Corvallis, Ore. Junior Dominique Lamb tallied the 300th block of her career, her 425th career kill, and now owns 104 digs in her career. Sophomore libero Brittany Leonard now has 757 career digs, and classmate Randy Goodenough posted the 100th kill in her career against the Beavers and now owns 91 career blocks.
Arizona has dropped out of the Top 25 for the first time since the end of the 2003 season. Arizona has a long tradition in the top 25, having been listed in 120 of the last 139 polls, dating back to the 1998 season. The previous nine-week lapse occurred during the 2003 season.
Head Coach Dave Rubio boasts a 230-156 record (.596) 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 412-222 (.650) record.
This past week, Rubio missed the first matches of his career at Arizona. Rubio stayed in Tucson to be with his wife Amanda as she gave birth to twins on the morning of Friday, Nov. 17.
BUTKUS BECOMES FOURTH PLAYER TO REACH 3,000, THIRD TO REACH 4,000:
When she dished out her 3,000th career assist at Louisville on Sept. 2, senior Stephanie Butkus became just the fourth Wildcat ever to surpass the plateau. When she dished out her 4,000th assist against Washington State on Friday, she became just the third player in school history to reach that milestone. Butkus is currently third all-time at Arizona with 4,004 assists, behind only assistant coach Dana Burkholder and Laura Bartsch. Butkus needs 21 assists against Arizona State on Friday to surpass Bartsch (4,024) for second-place all-time. What's more impressive about her numbers is the fact that she missed the majority of last season with a knee injury.
LAMB GOES 4-FOR-4 WITH ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS:
After going two years without being picked, junior Dominique Lamb went a perfect 4-for-4 this season on all-tournament team selections. In the first week of the season, during the Arizona Invitational, she averaged 2.20 kills, 1.60 blocks, 0.50 digs and 0.40 service aces over the three matches. At Louisville's Courtyard by Marriott Airport East Classic, the middle blocker posted averages of 3.27 kills, 0.73 blocks and 0.45 service aces. At the Four Points Sheraton Wildcat Classic, Lamb averaged 2.91 kills and 2.09 blocks. Last weekend, at Northwestern's Wildcat Classic, she hit a team-best .438 and averaged 2.92 kills and 1.33 blocks per game.
A BUMMER FOR BAUMER:
Senior middle blocker Kristina Baum will miss the remainder of the 2006 season after injuring her right knee in the first game of Arizona's Sept. 8 match against Bradley. Baum, who will attempt to regain her senior year through either a redshirt season or a medical hardship, has racked up 610 career kills in 98 matches played at Arizona. She has hit .275 during her career and averaged 1.83 kills, 1.45 digs and 0.69 blocks per game.
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 also face six teams (California, Louisville, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington) that were 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. Pac-10 teams have claimed 13 of the sport's 25 NCAA championships.