The Arizona volleyball team (9-4, 0-1 Pac-10) will head out for its first conference road trip of the season. The Wildcats will travel to the San Francisco Bay Area for a Friday meeting with No. 6 Stanford and a Saturday showdown with No. 7 Cal.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA:
The Wildcats dropped their only match last week, falling 3-1 to Arizona State in the conference season-opener for both schools. Neither squad looked very sharp, as UA mustered just a .098 team hitting percentage, while the Devils countered with a .089 effort.
On the season, Arizona is led by sophomore Brooke Buringrud, who averages 3.71 kills, 2.58 digs and 0.42 service aces per game. Freshman Whitney Dosty adds 3.27 kills per game, while Lamb chips in with a team-leading 1.54 blocks per game average and a .357 hitting percentage. Sophomore libero Brittany Leonard averages a team-best 3.46 digs per game.
As a team, the Wildcats are hitting .191 on the season, compared to the .129 of their opponents. Arizona also betters its opposition in every other statistical category.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
Stanford - The No. 6-ranked Cardinal enter the weekend of play with a 10-2 overall record and a 1-1 mark in the Pac-10. Stanford split its Pac-10 opening weekend, defeating Washington State 3-0 in Pullman last Thursday, before getting swept by defending national champion Washington in Seattle. The loss to the Huskies snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Cardinal. Stanford’s only other loss this season came at the hands of BYU in Provo, Utah. Among its victims this season, the Cardinal has claimed a sweep at No. 9 Hawaii and a 3-0 victory over No. 8 Santa Clara. As a team Stanford is hitting .284 for the year, and averaging 16.49 KPG, 1.54 SAPG, 3.49 BPG and 16.59 DPG. Individually Cynthia Barbosa paces the Cardinal attack by averaging 4.38 KPG while hitting at a .313 clip. Koluke Akinradewo leads the Stanford effort at the net with a team-best 1.61 BPG average. Setter Bryn Kehoe runs the Cardinal offense and averages 12.03 APG.
Cal - The Golden Bears raced out to a 11-0 start before getting tripped up 3-0 by Washington in Seattle last Thursday. Overall Cal is 12-1 on the year and 1-1 in Pac-10 play. Of the 12 victories posted by Cal this season, 10 have been 3-0 sweeps, including its latest victory over Washington State in Pullman last Friday. The Golden Bears swept No. 18 Pepperdine in non-conference action earlier this year. As a team, Cal is hitting .312 in 42 games played and is averaging 16.50 KPG, 1.64 SAPG, 2.81 BPG, and 14.36 DPG. Individually, Angie Pressey leads Cal with a 4.86 KPG average while hitting at a very impressive .397 rate, while teammate Hana Cutura follows close behind with a 4.19 KPG average and a .297 hitting percentage. Ellen Orchard is Cal’s main enforcer at the net with a 1.21 BPG average. Setter Samatha Carter is dishing out 13.02 APG
Stanford - Friday’s match will mark the 53rd meeting between Arizona and Stanford in volleyball. The Cardinal own a 45-7 edge in the all-time series, but the Wildcats swept the season series last year for just the second time in school history (2000 marked UA’s other season sweep). Arizona has only defeated Stanford twice on its home floor (2000 and 2005)
Cal - Saturday’s match will mark the 43rd meeting between Arizona and Cal in volleyball. The Wildcats enjoy a 32-10 advantage in the all-time series and have won the last three meetings between to the two. Prior to last season’s sweep by Arizona, the two schools split their season series for three straight years (2002-2004). Arizona has enjoyed a lot of success playing in Berkeley, posting a 16-4 record on the Bears’ home floor. The 16 road wins are tied for the most for Arizona against a Pac-10 school (Oregon)
ARIZONA VS. THE PAC-10 IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM:
The Wildcats have played pretty well against Pac-10 opponents early into the 21st century. Since 2000, when Arizona shared the Pac-10 title with USC, UA has posted a 75-34 record (.688) against the rival schools from the top conference in the nation. Only USC (95-15) and Stanford (86-24) have posted more wins in Pac-10 play than Arizona over the last six-plus years. In McKale Center, the Wildcats have put together a 41-13 home record (.759) against conference opponents since the turn of the millennium. UA is averaging 12.5 victories per year in the 2000s and have posted 10 or more victories all six seasons.
A BUMMER FOR BAUMER:
Senior middle blocker Kristina Baum is expected to 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.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10:
Junior Dominique Lamb ranks third in the Pac-10 in blocks (1.54) and eighth in hitting percentage (.357). Senior Stephanie Butkus is seventh in assists (11.21), while sophomore Brooke Buringrud is fourth in service aces (0.42). Freshman Jacy Norton is fourth in the conference in blocks (1.49 bpg) and sophomore Brittany Leonard is 10th in digs (3.46 dpg). As a team, the Wildcats are third in the Pac-10 in blocks (3.30) and fourth in service aces (1.65)
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.
BUTKUS BECOMES FOURTH PLAYER TO REACH 3,000:
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. If she continues at her current pace, Butkus would finish her career with 3,987 assists, good for third place all-time behind assistant coach Dana Burkholder and Laura Bartsch. Butkus is currently third among active Pac-10 setters with 3,313 total assists. What’s more impressive about her numbers is the fact that she missed the majority of last season with a knee injury.
In just her third year playing volleyball, freshman outside hitter Whitney Dosty has demonstrated her athleticism in the young season as she is averaging 3.30 kills per game, second-best on the team. She had a career-high 18 kills in Arizona’s five-game loss to Northwestern on Sept. 16.
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 1.86 digs and 1.69 kills. 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 13 matches this year, the sophomore is averaging 3.46 digs per game.
NORTON AT THE NET:
With the loss of MB Kristina Baum for the year, the Wildcats will need someone to step up. True freshman Jacy Norton has made an early bid to be that player. In the six matches since Baum went down with her knee injury, Norton is averaging 1.54 blocks per game, 1.58 kills and is hitting at a .284 clips. Numbers that are very similar to Baum’s prior to her injury (1.00 BPG, 1.59 KPG, .237 hitting percentage)
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 131 polls, dating back to the 1998 season. The previous nine-week lapse occurred during the 2003 season.
Head Coach Dave Rubio boasts a 287-145 record (.664) 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 409-211 (.660) record.
Sophomore Brooke Buringrud is 14 kills shy of 200 for her career and needs three more blocks for 30. Senior Stephanie Butkus is five kills away from 200 and 11 digs shy of 550. Freshman Whitney Dosty is 18 kills south of 175 early in her career, while junior Katie Jackels is 22 digs shy of 250. Junior Dominique Lamb is two blocks away from 275 on her career, six digs away from 75 and 21 kills away from 400. Sophomore libero Brittany Leonard needs 11 digs for 525 in her career
Sophomore Brooke Buringrud recorded her 20th career service ace at Northwestern. Senior Stephanie Butkus went over 500 career digs at the Northwestern tournament. Junior Amy Dyck tallied her 75th career block against Northwestern. Junior Dominique Lamb’s final kill against Northwestern gave her 375 in the three-year career. Sophomore Brittany Leonard went over the 500 mark for career digs last weekend against Arizona State.
PAC-10 ACTIVE LEADERS:
Senior Kristina Baum ranks fifth among active players in the Pac-10 in blocks, and seventh in both kills and service aces. Senior Stephanie Butkus is third in assists, while junior Amy Dyck ranks seventh.
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. 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 for a pair of conference matches against No. 3 UCLA and No. 5 USC in McKale Center. Both matches are scheduled for 7 p.m.