The No. 21 Arizona volleyball team returns home to host the Four Points Sheraton Wildcat Classic next Friday-Saturday, Sept. 8-9. The complete tournament schedule is as follows:
Sept. 8 Fri. Bradley vs. Arizona 10 a.m.
Rice vs. Montana State 12:30 p.m.
Montana State vs. Arizona 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 Sat. Bradley vs. Rice 10 a.m.
Montana State vs. Bradley 4:30 p.m.
Rice vs. Arizona 7 p.m.
Live stats of all the matches are available at www.arizonaathletics.com under Multimedia. In addition, live video of Arizona’s matches is also available on the website.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA:
The Wildcats were one of three teams to post a 2-1 record at the Courtyard by Marriott Airport East Classic last weekend. Arizona defeated Tennessee Tech 3-1 (25-30, 30-24, 30-25, 30-22) on Friday, was swept (27-30, 17-30, 23-30) by Dayton on Saturday morning and rebounded with a 3-1 win (30-24, 20-30, 30-24, 30-25) over Louisville that night. Junior Dominique Lamb and senior Stephanie Butkus were named to the all-tournament team. Lamb averaged 3.27 kills, 0.73 blocks and 0.45 service aces, while Butkus posted averages of 12.36 assists, 2.73 digs and 0.55 blocks over the three matches.
On the season, Arizona is led by sophomore Brooke Buringrud, who averages 3.67 kills, 2.52 digs and 0.48 service aces per game. Freshman Whitney Dosty adds 3.33 kills, while freshman Jacy Norton leads the team with a 1.60 blocks average. Junior libero Brittany Leonard averages a team-best 3.40 digs per game.
As a team, the Wildcats are hitting .210 on the season, compared to the .145 of their opponents. Arizona also betters its opponents in every other statistical category but service aces.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
Bradley - The Braves (3-3) went 2-1 to finish second in their own Radisson Hotel Invitational last weekend, defeating Western Illinois (29-31, 30-26, 28-30, 32-30, 15-8) and Austin Peay (30-23, 30-23, 30-17), before being swept by Cincinnati (16-30, 15-30, 20-30). Seniors Kelly Niemeyer and Jennifer Bohan were named to the all-tournament team. Niemeyer averaged 4.36 kills and 4.82 digs, while Bohan averaged 4.27 digs per game over the three matches.
As a team, Bradley is hitting .187 on the season, compared to the .213 of its opponents. However, the team leads its opponents in nearly every other statistical category - kills (14.19 to 13.86), assists (12.95 to 12.33) and digs (15.81 to 14.57).
Montana State - The Bobcats (2-4) finished in third place at the Varney’s-Kansas State Invitational last weekend with a win over Lipscomb (30-22, 27-30, 30-28, 30-22), and losses to No. 25 Kansas State (30-22, 25-30, 14-30, 7-30) and Wichita State (22-30, 16-30, 18-30). Angela Wiebe was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 1.80 kills and 1.09 blocks per game.
As a team, Montana State trails its opponents in nearly every statistical category - kills (12.52 to 17.00), hitting percentage (.183 to .235), assists (11.19 to 15.57), service aces (1.48 to .10) and digs (16.33 to 17.33). The Bobcats better their opponents in blocks (2.21 to 2.00).
Rice - The Owls (3-3) claimed the championship of the Holiday Inn Select/Rice Invitational last weekend. Rice defeated DePaul (30-27, 30-20, 30-19) and Illinois State (28-30, 30-21, 32-30, 15-30, 15-11), but lost to Texas-San Antonio (24-30, 30-27, 25-30, 30-26, 14-16). Sophomore Karyn Morgan was named tournament MVP after averaging 5.15 kills and 3.77 digs per game over three matches. Joining her on the all-tournament team were junior libero Yvette Kirk, who averaged 3.62 digs, and freshman Natalie Bogan, who hit .307 for the tournament and averaged 2.77 kills.
As a team, Rice is being out-hit by its opponents .178 to .166, out-dug 17.52 to 16.78 and out-blocked 2.63 to 2.00. The Owls, however, average more kills (13.87 to 13.52) and assists (12.83 to 12.35).
Bradley - This is the first-ever meeting between Arizona and the Braves.
Montana State - Arizona is 1-0 all-time vs. the Bobcats, having defeated them 2-0 on Sept. 28, 1978, in Provo, Utah.
Rice - Arizona leads the all-time series with the Owls 1-0. In the two teams’ only meeting on Sept. 8, 1989, the Wildcats won 3-0 in Baton Rouge, La.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10:
Junior Dominique Lamb ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in service aces (0.43) and eighth in hitting percentage (.364). Senior Stephanie Butkus is sixth in assists (11.33), while sophomore Brooke Buringrud is third in service aces (0.48).
LAMB AND ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS:
After going two years without being picked, junior Dominique Lamb is a perfect 2-for-2 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. Last week, the middle blocker posted averages of 3.27 kills, 0.73 blocks and 0.45 service aces at the Courtyard by Marriott Airport East Classic. In the win over host Louisville, Lamb notched a career-high 17 kills.
BUTKUS BECOMES FOURTH PLAYER TO REACH 3,000 ASSISTS:
When she dished out her 3,000th career assist at Louisville last Saturday, 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 3,965 assists, good for third place all-time behind assistant coach Dana Burkholder and Laura Bartsch. 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 3.33 kills per game, second-best on the team. She had a career-high 17 kills in Arizona’s upset of Louisville last Saturday.
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 1.80 digs and 1.30 kills. Against Tennessee Tech last Friday, 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 three matches this year, the sophomore is averaging 3.40 digs per game.
Arizona has been ranked in the Top 25 in 119 of the last 128 polls, dating back to the 1998 season. The nine-week lapse occurred during the 2003 season.
Head Coach Dave Rubio boasts a 283-142 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 405-208 (.661) record.
Senior Kristina Baum is 18 digs away from 500, while freshman Brooke Buringrud is 15 kills shy of 100. Senior Stephanie Butkus is 19 kills away from 200 and four blocks shy of 150. Freshman Whitney Dosty is nine attempts away from 200, while junior Amy Dyck is 12 assists away from 1,400 on her career.
Senior Kristina Baum notched her 600th career kill and 1400th career attempt at Louisville last Saturday. Senior Stephanie Butkus recorded her 3000th career assist , while junior Dominique Lamb notched her 300th career kill at Louisville last Saturday. Sophomore Brittany Leonard recorded her 400th career dig vs. Dayton last Saturday.
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.
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 travels to Chicago to compete in the Northwestern Tournament next Friday-Saturday, Sept. 15-16, where it will face Pittsburgh, Eastern Illinois and Northwestern.