THIS WEEK: The No. 15 Arizona volleyball team (8-1) opens Pac-10 play at home this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 23-24, vs. the Oregon schools. The Wildcats face Oregon State on Friday and Oregon on Saturday. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. in McKale Center. Live video and stats of both matches are available on the web at www.arizonaathletics.com.
Fans in attendance on Saturday will receive an Arizona volleyball poster and will have the opportunity to meet the players and get autographs at the conclusion of the match.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA: Arizona claimed the championship of the Rhode Island Invitational last weekend with wins over Connecticut (30-27, 30-22, 30-12), host Rhode Island (30-23, 30-21, 30-24) and North Carolina (30-19, 22-30, 30-23, 33-31). Senior Kim Glass was named tournament MVP after averaging 3.90 kills, 3.20 digs and 1.20 blocks per game over the three matches. Fellow seniors Bre Ladd and Jennifer Abernathy were also named to the all-tournament team. Abernathy averaged 3.50 kills, 3.60 digs and 0.50 service aces per game, while Ladd averaged 2.40 kills, 1.30 blocks and 0.60 service aces. She also hit .667 during the tournament.
On the season, the Wildcats are led by Glass, who averages 4.40 kills, 3.13 digs and 0.80 blocks per game. Abernathy adds 3.87 kills, 3.33 digs and 0.43 service aces per game, while Ladd averages 2.23 kills and 1.07 blocks per game. Sophomore Dominique Lamb leads the team with 1.17 blocks per game, while freshman Brittany Leonard has a team-high 3.56 digs per game average. Setter Amy Dyck is averaging 8.37 assists per game.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
Oregon State - The Beavers (4-2) defeated British Columbia (28-30, 30-23, 30-21, 21-30, 15-11) in an exhibition match last Saturday in Corvallis, Ore. The previous weekend, Oregon State went 1-2 at the Colorado State Hilton Classic, dropping matches to UC Irvine and the host Rams, and defeating Virginia Tech.
Oregon State has five players that average 2.00 kills per game or better, led by Kristin Murray with a 2.95 average. Kristy Mortensen leads the team with 3.57 digs per game, while Brittany Cahoon averages 1.21 blocks per game. As a team, the Beavers are hitting .279, compared to the .156 of their opponents.
Oregon - The Ducks (10-1) are off to their best start in 32 years, having equaled their win total of last year. Last weekend, Oregon defeated Fresno State twice -- in three games (30-28, 31-29, 30-19) on Friday, and 3-1 (36-38, 30-21, 30-24, 30-19) on Saturday.
Mira Djuric and Kelly Russell pace Oregon with 4.53 and 4.45 kills per game, respectively. Djuric also adds 0.65 service aces per game. Katie Swoboda boasts a team-high 5.03 digs per game average. As a team, the Ducks are averaging 16.83 kills per game on .263 hitting.
Oregon State - Arizona is 29-10 all-time vs. the Beavers and has won the last 17 meetings. The two teams last met on Nov. 5, 2004, with Arizona winning 3-0 in Tucson. Arizona is 16-3 at home, 13-6 away and 0-1 at a neutral site vs. Oregon State.
Oregon - Arizona is 33-8 all-time vs. Oregon, including 12 victories in a row. The two teams last met on Nov. 4, 2004, with the Wildcats sweeping the Ducks in Tucson. Arizona is 16-4 at home, 15-4 away and 2-0 at a neutral site vs. Oregon.
RUBIO BECOMES ALL-TIME WINS LEADER: With the Wildcats’ victory Friday over Connecticut, Head Coach Dave Rubio notched his 259th career win at Arizona, making him the all-time winningest coach in Arizona volleyball history. The win moved him ahead of Rosie Wegrich, who coached from 1977-1991 and compiled a 258-229-9 record (.531) in 15 seasons. Rubio now boasts a career record of 261-136 (.657) in 14 years at the helm.
POLL POSITION: Arizona has been ranked in the Top 25 in 106 of the last 115 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Polls. The nine-week lapse occurred during the 2003 season.
RANKING IN THE PAC: Individually, several Wildcats rank in the Top 10 in the conference in various statistical categories. Senior Kim Glass ranks second in points per game (5.35), fourth in kills per game (4.40) and seventh in service aces per game (0.40). Senior Bre Ladd is fifth in hitting percentage (.406) and seventh in service aces per game (0.40). Senior Jennifer Abernathy ranks sixth in service aces per game (0.43), while sophomore Dominique Lamb ranks ninth in both blocks per game (1.17) and hitting percentage (.369). Freshman Brittany Leonard is ninth in digs per game (3.56).
CONFERENCE ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS: Arizona boasts several of the Pac-10’s active career statistical leaders. Senior Kim Glass is the current leader in kills (1,658) and ranks second in service aces (130) and fifth in digs (905). Fellow senior Bre Ladd is the leader in blocks (369) and ranks third in service aces (92) and sixth in kills (926). Jennifer Abernathy ranks eighth in kills (837), while setter Stephanie Butkus ranks third in assists (2,680).
STACKED SCHEDULE: As always, Arizona faces a tough schedule in 2005. Included on the slate are 14 matches against teams that participated in last year’s NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats will also face seven teams (Stanford, Washington, USC, UCLA, Georgia Tech, California and UC Santa Barbara) that were ranked in the preseason Top 25 in the AVCA/CSTV Coaches Poll.
TELEVISION TIME: Two of Arizona’s matches this season will be televised on a tape-delay basis on FSN. The Wildcats’ Oct. 7 match at Arizona State (which will air on Oct. 8) and the team’s home match on Nov. 18 vs. USC (which will air on Nov. 19) can be seen by a national audience on FSN.
PAC-10 POTPOURRI: With Stanford capturing the NCAA title last season, the Pac-10 has now won four consecutive national championships (Stanford in 2004 and 2001, USC in 2003 and 2002). What’s more, Pac-10 teams have claimed 12 of the sport’s 24 NCAA championships.
REACHING MILESTONES: Junior Kristina Baum notched her 350th career kill against Rhode Island last Friday, while sophomore Amy Dyck recorded her 300th career assist vs. North Carolina last Saturday. Senior Kim Glass tallied her 900th career dig vs. North Carolina, while sophomore Dominique Lamb notched her 100th career kill against Connecticut last Friday.
CLOSING IN: Senior Jennifer Abernathy is six blocks away from 100 and 27 digs away from 600 on her career, while junior Kristina Baum is four blocks away from 150. Junior Stephanie Butkus is three digs shy of 400 on her career, while senior Bre Ladd is eight service aces away from 100 on her career. Sophomore Dominique Lamb is nine blocks shy of 100 on her career.
GLASS’ STREAKS: Senior Kim Glass has at least three kills and three digs in 91 of the 93 matches on her career. What’s more, she has recorded double-digit kills in all but 10 (83 of 93) matches during her three years. With 1,658 career kills, she is 201 away from the school record, currently held by Barb Bell (1993-96).
BLOCKING MACHINE: Senior Bre Ladd has been a consistent defensive threat at the net ever since she arrived on campus in the fall of 2002. She has at least one block in 98 of 103 career matches, including 29 of 33 last season. What’s more, the Tucson native currently has 369 total blocks on her career, good for fifth place all-time at Arizona and just six away from fourth place, currently held by Trina Smith (1989-90, 92-93).
UP NEXT: Arizona hits the road to continue Pac-10 play next Friday and Saturday, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, against Washington State and Washington, respectively. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.