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Cats To Face NMSU in Final Non-Conference Match
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 10/02/2010
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Oct. 2, 2010

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New Mexico State (2-1 WAC, 8-8) vs. Arizona (1-2 Pac-10, 11-4)
4:30 p.m. MST | Pan American Center | Las Cruces, N.M..

Tape Delay TV Broadcast: Fox Sports Arizona
Produced by NMSU’s AggieVision

All-Time Series: Arizona leads the head-to-head series, 12-0
First Meeting: Oct. 14, 1977 (UA 3 NMSU 1 in Las Cruces, N.M.)
Last Meeting: Sept. 18, 2010 (UA 3 NMSU 0 in Tucson, Ariz.)

Ahead This Week for UA Volleyball:  After sweeping the rival Sun Devils last night in an FSN Territorial Cup match, Coach Rubio and the Wildcats head to Las Cruces, N.M. to face the upstart Aggies…UA will look to its Sept. 18 3-0 win over NMSU in McKale Center during the Arizona Invitational as guidance for this weekend, though the Aggies look to have a healthy lineup this time around.  Arizona’s win over ASU snapped a two-match skid, UA’s longest through 14 matches, and boosted the team’s spirits after a tough week of practice.  This will be the Wildcats’ final non-conference match of 2010.

Stay Connected: There are many mediums for you to stay connected with Arizona Volleyball…First and foremost, check out recaps, schedules, releases, GameTracker and general updates at ArizonaWildcats.com…If you want more in depth news straight from the coaching staff, check out the Arizona Volleyball twitter feed at twitter.com/arizonavball…Additionally, all home matches will be streamed live through UA’s Comcast All-Access player…And lest we forget about the Arizona Athletics Facebook page, check us out over the world’s largest social network through either the general Arizona Athletics page or sport specific page.

State Farm Territorial Cup: In last night’s 3-0 win over the rival Devils, the volleyball team earned Arizona’s its first win in the State Territorial Cup of 2010. The year-long battle between the two schools, is a competition between the universities’ 18 sports with everything from soccer to track and field included.  Arizona will gain a 1-0 advantage if it tops ASU again in volleyball next month.  ASU can now only hope for a ½ point split.  In 2009, Arizona beat ASU in the inaugural competition, 10.5 to 7.5.

Last week: Last time out, Arizona beat Arizona State in a 3-0 sweep in front of a season-best 2,234 fans in McKale Center.  The win was much welcomed for the Wildcats as they had gotten off to a poor showing vs. Cal and Stanford to open conference play a week earlier.  Paige Weber and Courtney Karst led the way for UA, with Weber tallying 38 assists through three sets and Karst leading the team in kills with 12.  Cursty Jackson, Tiffany Owens and Whitney Dosty each had nine kills as well.
 
In the rankings:  The Cats find themselves unranked for the third consecutive week after appearing in the polls three times including the preseason ranking to begin the season. Currently, UA is receiving the third-most votes of teams not included in the AVCA’s Top 25.  New Mexico State has not been ranked in 2010.  Six Pac-10 teams appear in the poll highlighted by all six in the top 12 including No. 1 ranked Stanford.

Head Coach Dave Rubio …is in his 19th season as head coach of Arizona.  In that time span, Rubio has a record of 351-202. Rubio also boasts a career record of 473-268 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 351.  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 .634 in the always tough Pac-10 and has guided the Cats to 13 NCAA appearances.

Chart the Hitting Percentage: If you were to focus on only of one the multitude of stats in predicting whether Arizona will be victorious on the evening, look to the hitting percentage.  This season in matches where UA has had the higher percentage, the Cats are a perfect 11-0.  In cases where they trail their opponents in overall hitting percentage, Arizona is 0-4.  This stat was again on display in UA’s match vs. Arizona State as they Wildcats just missed the .300 mark, hitting .298 compared to just .093 for Sparky. Will the Cats have an efficient repeat in store vs. the Aggies Sunday?

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 193 kills and first in digs with 145. After starting off 2010 relatively slowly, Owens has been UA’s catalyst, leading the team in kills in three of the last four matches including recording 22 kills against NMSU and 25 kills vs. Cal Berkeley.  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 stat of note during the 2009 season was Tiffany Owens’ double-doubles.  When Owens amassed double-digit kills and digs, the Wildcats usually had success.  Currently, Owens has five double-double performances, including two in her last three matches. Her total is good for third currently in the Pac-10. On Friday vs. ASU, Owens just missed her sixth double-double as she wet for nine kills and 14 digs.  Nine kills on 18 attempts though is still pretty impressive for the San Bernardino, Calif. native.

She’s Not Sorry…Ms. Jackson, That Is: She definitely got-that-swag and it couldn’t be welcomed more by the Wildcats.  If you hadn’t caught on yet, we’re talking about middle blocker Cursty Jackson. Jackson, a transfer from UNLV and originally from Los Angeles, has been Arizona’s top middle through 15 matches this season.  No. 13 currently leads the Cats in blocks with 60 total and hitting percentage at .406 to go along with 132 kills. Her quick set attacking ability with setter Paige Weber is an asset the Cats will look to exploit.

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. To date, Lozano has 46 total blocks and 33 kills in 50 sets played.

Dosty Cracks the Whip: Outside Hitter Whitney Dosty has been arguably one of the nation’s most powerful hitters during her time with the Cats.  This season, though, she has been able to find better accuracy and thus leads the team in overall kills with 206.  Her kill-to-set ratio is 3.94 and has a hitting percentage of .225.  She’s one of four Wildcats to appear in every set this season for UA, joining senior Paige Weber, Tiffany Owens and junior Cursty Jackson.

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. Nicholson is second on the team in digs, behind only Tiffany Owens, with 119. Against Arizona State, Nicholson led the team with a team season-best and career-high 18 digs.

Acquiring Some Help:  UA was helped two weekends ago with Tarryn Luafalemana and Kaylen Bannister returning off the proverbial DL. Both players will look to factor in at the middle blocker position.  Luafalemana worked in sparingly against Cal and Stanford, but look for Bannister, UA’s most defensive and physical blocker, to continue working her way back into the lineup after sitting out training camp and the start of the season due to birthing a son in August.

Quite the Streak: Paige Weber has put together quite an impressive streak, playing in every set of her Wildcat career.  That amounts to 379 consecutive sets played over three plus seasons.  The Wildcats will look to Weber’s durability again this season to take them to the postseason. Her active streak is currently third on the UA all-time consecutive sets played list.  Weber moved into a tie Friday night with Terry Lauchner with 106 matches started against Arizona State. It was questionable whether Weber would even play Friday after suffering an ankle sprain in practice.

Digs Leader:  Tiffany Owens gets most of her praise on the offensive end, as she often times sparks UA rallies, and is second overall on the team in kills.  But her most vital asset to the team, might be her defensive prowess.  Owens, who passes in all six rotations, currently leads the team in digs with 145 and is essential to the teams serve-receive. She added 14 digs Friday night vs. ASU to go along with her nine kills

Karst Holds the Key:  We said on Thursday if Karst were to play well, it would likely bode well for the Wildcats’ chances against Arizona State.  Well our prediction held true, as the Colorado native lead the team with 12 kills, a season-high for her, on 26 attempts.  Look for the blonde bomber to continue to provide UA with addition scoring opportunities from the outside.  This season she has 113 kills on .220 hitting.

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 on the road next weekend as they visit Oregon for their first Pac-10 road trip of the 2010 season.  Arizona will first go up against Oregon State on Oct. 8, then face the Oregon Ducks, Saturday, Oct. 9.

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