Sept. 4, 2001
Coming Attractions: The defending Pac-10 Co-Champion Arizona volleyball team opens its home schedule with the 18th-annual Four Points University Plaza Wildcat Classic. The Cats will take on 19th-ranked Utah in the opening match on Thursday at 7 p.m. Louisville and Utah play at 5 p.m. on Friday and the Cats and Cardinals will meet on Saturday at noon. The Wildcat Classic will be the last non-conference matches in over two months for Arizona as Pac-10 play begins next week.
The Opposition: UTAH- The Utes (4-0) come to the Old Pueblo on the heels of a four match victory at its Utah Classic Tournament. Utah defeated Georgia Tech, Rhode Island and Texas Tech on its home floor. UU returns four starters and 10 letterwinners from the 2000 team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Utes finished third in the Mountain West last season and ended up ranked 20th in the final poll. In 14 all-time matches Arizona holds an 11-3 lead, including a 3-0 sweep of Utah last season in Salt Lake City. LOUISVILLE- The Cardinals (3-0) return to Tucson where they made a first round appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season. Five starters and 11 letterwinners return for Louisville this season. The Cardinals won the Illinois State Classic last weekend, defeating Missouri-Kansas City, UW-Milwaukee and Illinois State. Louisville received 35 votes in the coaches poll, 29th best. Saturday's match will be the first between the two schools.
The Polls: The Arizona volleyball team was voted fifth in the latest edition of the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll. The Cats garnered one first-place vote, the first in school history. The Wildcats are the highest ranked Pac-10 team, also a school first. Volleyball Magazine places Arizona seventh in its Week 1 poll, up two spots from last week. See page five of the notes for the complete polls.
Last Week's Action: The Wildcats traveled 1,700 miles in the season opener to particiapte in Florida's SunTrust Invitational. Arizona swept through the competition, dowing South Florida, Marshall and then-ninth-ranked Florida 3-0 in the process. The new rally scoring format had little effect on the Wildcat offense as Arizona hit an impressive .356 in the three matches. Junior Lisa Rutledge led the way for the Cats in the season opener against South Florida. The outside hitter posted a match-high 18 kills on .467 hitting and nine digs. Classmate Shannon Torregrosa led all players with 11 kills in UA's second victory against Marshall. She also recorded eight digs in the match. Freshmen Kellie Burton and Jolene Killough each recorded the first two kills of their careers in the match and classmate Rochelle Ruen dished out her first 10 assists. Rutledge (16 kills), Torregrosa (11), Jill Talbot (10) and Stafani Saragosa (11) combined to collect 48 of Arizona's 52 kills against ninth-ranked Florida. The Wildcats out-blocked the Gators 14-5 at the net.
More Hardware For Burkholder: Senior setter Dana Burkholder, already the most decorated player in Arizona history, began her 2001 season by earning MVP honors at Florida's SunTrust Invitational. She dished out 102 assists in UA's three matches and guided the Arizona offense to a .356 hitting percentage. She also made South Florida, Marshall and Florida pay for not watching her at the net with 12 kills on 24 attempts with only three errors for a .375 attack percentage.
Talbot and Rutledge Recognized: Joining Burkholder on the all-invitational team were classmate Jill Talbot and junior Lisa Rutldge. Talbot was her steady self last weekend, helping the Wildcats in all aspects of the match. She tallied 22 kills, 10 assists, 16 digs and 12 total blocks in UA's three matches. Rutledge got off to a fast start, leading Arizona with 40 kills on .411 hitting. She averaged five kills per gameand chipped in with 15 digs.
The Four Points University Plaza Wildcat Classic: The Wildcat Classic traditionally has brought excellant competition to McKale Center and the 2001 field of no. 5 Arizona, no. 19 Utah and Louisville is no exception. Of the 63 teams that have played in the Classic in past, 30 have gone on to play in the postseason. The Wildcats hold an impressive record in the annual event, tallying a 41-8 (.837) record in 49 matches. UA has won 12 of the 16 team championships and shared the title with ASU in 1999's Pac-WAC Challenge.
Non-Conference Opponents in McKale: Since head coach David Rubio took over in 1992 the Wildcats have posted a 39-6 record (.867) in McKale Center against non-conference opponents. The Wildcats were a perfect 6-0 against non-Pac-10 teams last year and currently have a seven-match winning streak in non-conference competition at home.
Outlook for 2001: The Wildcats return four starters from last seasons's team. All-American setter Dana Burkholder, right-side hitter Jill Talbot, outside hitter Lisa Rutledge and defensive specialist Rachel Williams all return to the floor for the Cats in 2001. Joining them in the starting rotation will be middle blockers Erin Sebbas and Stefani Saragosa and outside hitter Shannon Torregrosa. The loss of NCAA hitting percentage leader and All-Pac-10 middle blocker Marisa DaLee is significant, but will be offset by the return of Saragosa, who played in 30 of Arizona's 33 matches last season with an ailing shoulder that has been surgically repaired, and the spring emergence of Sebbas. Coach Rubio is counting on Torregrosa to have a breakout season in the outside hitter spot vacated by the departure of All-Pac-10 performer Allison Napier. Others returning players that are expected to see extensive floor time are defensive specialists Linda McCullagh and Christina Frost and setter/right side hitter Lauren Benward.
Arizona has also added a number of newcomers that the coaching staff figure will see playing time, including setter Rochelle Ruen, right side hitter Kellie Burton and defensive specialist Kelli Mulvany.
Starting Lineup Possibilities
Setter - Dana Burkholder
Right Side- Jill Talbot
Outside - Lisa Rutledge / Shannon Torregrosa
Middle Blocker- Stefani Saragosa / Erin Sebbas
Defensive Specialist- Rachel Williams / Kelli Mulvany
A Look Back: The 2000 season was one of the finest in school history. The Wildcats finished the season 28-5, matching the school record for wins in a season. 20 of Arizona's 28 victories were 3-0 sweeps and of Arizona's five loses only one was in three game, two were in four games and two went all five. Arizona was an outstanding 14-1 in home matches, 11-2 on the road and 3-2 in neutral court contests. They advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, the deepest an Arizona team has ever gone. UA won its first Pac-10 title, sharing it with USC. 2000 marked the first time a team other than UCLA or Stanford had won the Pac-10 championship since conference play began in 1986. The 16-2 Pac-10 record shattered the school record for conference wins by four. Individually, returning setter Dana Burkholder became one of the most recognized athletes in school history. She was named both AVCA and Volleyball Magazine First-Team All-America (the first, first-team member since 1985), to the NCAA Central Region All-Tournament Team, the Pac-10 Player of the Year, First-Team All-Pac-10 and AVCA All-Pacific Region. She set numerous school records, including single-match (84), single-season (1,562) and career marks (4,068) for assists, while guiding the Arizona offense to a NCAA Division I leading .320 attack percentage, the best in school history and the second-best ever in the Pac-10. Departed seniors Marisa DaLee and Allison Napier, both 1,000 career kill members, each tallied First-Team All-Pac-10 honors. Giving the Cats three for the season, the most in any single year. DaLee led the nation in hitting percentage (.437) and was also named AVCA All-Pacific Region. Jill Talbot and Lisa Rutledge, who both return in 2001, each garnered Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 honors as well.
2000 Pac-10 Coach of the Year David Rubio: In nine years as Arizona's head coach, David Rubio has taken the Cats from the abyss of a winless Pac-10 season to the pinnacle of a conference championship. Inheriting a team that did not win a single match in the conference the year before he arrived, he has turned the Wildcats into a club that has made seven postseason appearances in eight years, won a Pac-10 Championship and 11 NCAA Tournament matches. Rubio has recruited and coached two All-Americans, the 2000 Pac-10 Player of the Year, 13 All-Pac-10 performers, six All-Pac-10 freshman players and eight academic all-conference athletes at Arizona. Also, UA athletes have earned 13 Pac-10 Player of the Week honors under his guide. During his tenure at Arizona, Rubio has led the Wildcats to 175 victories and a winning league mark over the last eight seasons. Last year's 16-2 Pac-10 record smashed the school mark for conference victories.
Closing in on 300: Head coach David Rubio is closing in on his 300th career coaching victory. The 10th year Arizona coach needs only five more wins for the milestone. Rubio has amassed 175 wins at Arizona and an additional 120 in five seasons at CSU Bakersfield
Rule Changes in 2001: Gone from the rule book is the first to 15 with side-outs. Into play is the faster paced "rally scoring". In a departure from the previous scoring format, a team may score a point whether it is the serving or receiving team, there are no longer "side-outs" in which the service receiving teams cannot score. Simply stated, every time the ball is put in play, each team will have an opportunity to score. Now, in order for a team to win a non-deciding game (the first four games of the match) it must be the first to reach 30 points and lead by at least two using rally scoring. In a match deciding game (the fifth game of the match) the first team to reach 15, again in rally scoring format (i.e. no side-outs), and lead by two or more points is the winner of that game. Another change is that served balls that touch the net and continue on to the opponent's side will remain in play. Balls that strike the net and fall on the serving team's side or out of play will result in a point for the opposition. Previously, any ball that struck the net on a serve was ruled dead and resulted in a side-out. The final change deals with a ball played outside of the antenna. When an attacking team hits a ball that crosses over the midcourt/netline outside of the antenna, a teammate may legally pursue the ball and pass it back to the attacking side, provided that the ball is played outside the antenna and it does not pass over the antenna or the net in the process of the pass. The attacking team will then have an opportunity to continue the play and rally.