Nov. 24, 2010
No. 20 Arizona (9-7, 20-9) at No. 4 Stanford (13-3, 22-3)
Wednesday, Nov. 24
7 p.m. PT | Maples Pavilion| Palo Alto, Calif.
No. 20 Arizona (9-7, 20-9) at No. 2 California (14-2, 24-2)
Friday, Nov. 26
Noon PT | Haas Pavilion| Berkeley, Calif.
Tape Delay TV Broadcast: Fox Sports Net
Television Talent: Paul Sunderland (play-by-play), Karch Kiraly (analyst)
FS Arizona Air Time: Sunday, Nov. 28 at 11:30 a.m.
All-Time Series vs. Stanford: Stanford leads the all-time series 55-6 over Arizona
First Meeting: Nov. 7, 1981 (Stanford 1 UA 0 in Los Angeles, Calif.)
Last Meeting: Sept. 26, 2010 (Stanford 3 UA 0 in Tucson, Ariz.)
All-Time Series vs. Cal: Arizona leads the all-time series 34-17 over Cal
First Meeting: Nov. 5, 1982 (UA 2 Cal 0 in Los Angeles, Calif.)
Last Meeting: Sept. 24, 2010 (Cal 3 UA 2 in Tucson, Ariz.)
Ahead This Week for UA Volleyball: No. 20 Arizona, heading to the Bay Area for the final two regular season Pac-10 matches, will face No. 2 California and No. 4 Stanford in nation’s toughest road trip. The Wildcats, winners of six of its last eight, look to be in the NCAA Tournament and will now focus on closing out the regular season against a couple of juggernauts. Facing California back in September to open conference play, the Cats looked to have an upset in sights up 2-0, but the Golden Bears pulled the rally and won three straight sets for a 3-2 victory. Two days later vs. Stanford, UA suffered a hangover from the close five-set loss and was quickly defeated 3-0 by the Cardinal.
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.
Last week: Searching for a marquee win, the Wildcats downed then No. 11 Washington at home in rout to a weekend sweep over its Pacific Northwest friends. After topping Washington State a night earlier, the Cats went on the offensive against the Huskies, dictating the match and ultimately coming away with a win on Senior Night. The victory over the ‘Dawgs was UA’s first in eight seasons, spanning 16 matches back to the 2002 year. With the W, Arizona secured 20 wins for the first time since Dave Rubio’s 2005 Elite Eight team.
In The Rankings: Arizona, coming off wins over Washington State and then No. 11 Washington, moved up two places in the AVCA weekly poll to No. 20 overall. It’s the sixth consecutive poll in which Arizona has been ranked and ninth overall. The Pac-10 continues to lead the country in teams ranked with seven for the fifth straight week. In the RPI, the Cats chart in at No. 32 overall. For opponents, California is No. 2 in the country after beating No. 4 Stanford last weekend.
Head Coach Dave Rubio …is in his 19th season as head coach of Arizona. In that time span, Rubio has a record of 358-209. Rubio also boasts a career record of 480-275 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 is the active leader in Conference wins with 360. 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 .633 in the always tough Pac-10 and has guided the Cats to 13 NCAA appearances. Rubio’s next closest competition in the Pac-10 in terms of active conference wins is Stanford head man, John Dunning with 284.
Success on Senior Night: Maybe it’s the emotion of playing on a night where they are celebrated for their four-year careers at Arizona, or perhaps it is just a last chance at beating a top-ranked opponent at home but UA has had tremendous success and this year was no different. With Arizona’s 3-1 over No. 11 Washington, it preserved a now seven-year streak of beating a Top 25 team on Senior Night. Here’s a list:
2005 – No. 16 UCLA, 3-0 W
2006 – No. 24 Oregon 3-2 W
2007 – No. 10 UCLA 3-1 W
2008 – No. 8 Oregon 3-1 W
2009 – No. 11 Cal 3-1 W
2010 – No. 11 Washington 3-1 W
A Glance At The Conference: The Pac-10 champion will be decided this weekend with the Wildcats looking to play spoiler. Cal, coming off a 3-1 win over Stanford last weekend, is in position to win its first-ever volleyball conference championship. Arizona, currently in fifth place behind the California schools, is looking to enter the NCAA Tournament in the best possible position. USC and UCLA will square off this weekend with the Trojans looking to move up to second place should Stanford falter at all this weekend.
Pac-10 Player of the Week: From a production standpoint, Tiffany Owens never ceases to amaze the UA coaches. In her last two home matches at McKale Center, Owens combined for 43 kills, 38 digs on .386 hitting to lead Arizona to wins over Washington State and Washington. For that performance, Owens was named the Conference’s player of the week, an accolade she’s received twice this season and four times throughout her career as a Wildcat. UA’s, kills and digs leader, there isn’t a player more dependable than “TO” on Arizona’s roster.
Arizona vs. Ranked Teams in 2010: After missing a ranked opponent over its non-conference schedule, Arizona has not fared well when playing ranked conference teams. Holding a record of 3-7, UA has defeated a ranked Oregon team twice this season and Washington in its final home match. The Wildcats will get a few more daunting challenges this week as they look at upsetting either Top 5 team in Stanford or Cal on the road. Of note, four of those seven losses to ranked teams occurred in five sets.
Double Double Leader: Over the course of the season, Tiffany Owens has been the Cats’ top scorer and defender. The versatile outside hitter passes and serves in every rotation and has a knack for racking up double-digit kills and digs. She continues to lead the Pac-10 in double-doubles, recording a total of 17 matches with a 10 spot in the kills and digs category. Moreover, Owens has amassed at least 20 kills in 10 matches and has went for 20 and 20 (kills and digs) five times in 2010.
All-Academic Paige: Senior setter Paige Weber has been able to find that perfect balance between her studies and volleyball during her four seasons at Arizona. The Indianapolis native, studying accounting at the Eller College of Management, carries a 3.88 grade point average and on Wednesday was named to the Pac-10 All-Academic First Team for the third consecutive season. Way to go, Paige.
A Perfect Fit: When middle blocker Cursty Jackson decided to transfer to Arizona for this season, it couldn’t have been a better fit. Jackson, an explosive jumper who looks to score from the middle position, quickly assumed the starting position and is one of three Wildcats to start every match in 2010. Statistically speaking, Jackson hits for a high percentage at .356 over her 275 total kills this season. From a blocking standpoint, Jackson averages 1.12 blocks per set while scoring 27 solo rejections combined with 98 block assists.
Five-Setters: Through the Pac-10 season, Arizona has played to five-sets seven times posting a record of 3-4 in those. The seven conference five-setters in one season trail only UA's 1993 season when it played nine conference five-set matches and one against ASU in the NCAA Tournament. Here's to hopefully all this tense five-set deuce match experience paying off for the Cats in high-pressure situations. With non-conference matches included, UA’s five-set total grows to nine after losing to Cal Poly to open the season while beating Louisville at home.
It’s Like Candy: Freshman libero Candace Nicholson has been a force along the backrow for Arizona since assuming the starting position mid way through the season. A first-year player out of Long Beach, Calif., Nicholson is currently second on the team in digs with 322 while averaging 3.01 per set. Playing above her years, Nicholson has provided the Wildcats with a capable passer in its two-person passing defense. Additionally, Nicholson has cracked the 20-dig barrier three times in conference matches this season.
Exercise the Demons: With Arizona’s 3-1 win over No. 11 Washington, it marked the first time in eight seasons that the Cats had defeated the Huskies. A streak that spanned 16 matches, the ‘Dawgs just always seemed to have Arizona’s number. That changed Saturday night, with the Cats getting out to their usual fast start and never letting up. Down 2-0, the Huskies did manage to take a set, but in the fourth, Arizona played ahead the entire way to clinch the home win.
Not a Bad Second Option: While hampered by some nagging injuries her entire career at Arizona, senior outside hitter Whitney Dosty still can provide a spark when needed and change the complexion of a match. Equipped with a powerful attack that almost becomes impossible to defend when accurately hit, Dosty has totaled 307 kills in 104 sets played this season. On the defensive end, Dosty is second on the team in blocks with 63 total rejections. Often referred to as the X factor, if Dosty is playing well, the Wildcats are tough to beat.
Arizona’s Offensive Spark: Senior Paige Weber is proving to be one of the nation’s top setters yet again in 2010 as she has totaled 1219 assists for an a/s ratio of 10.88. Now in her final year at UA, Weber has recorded 4, 852 total assists, good for second on UA all-time assist chart, trailing only All-American Dana Burkholder. Weber is also third among active Pac-10 setters in total assists. Additionally, Weber has tallied at least 1,000 kills all four seasons at Arizona.
Quite the Streak: Weber has put together quite an impressive iron-woman streak, playing in every set of her Wildcat career. That amounts to 436 consecutive sets played over four seasons. In terms of matches started, Weber is currently third on the UA list with 120. Should Weber start UA’s last two matches and a possible NCAA Tournament match, she’ll tie Bre Ladd’s record of 123 matches started for a career.
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 184 kills and first in digs with 131. After starting off 2010 relatively slowly, Owens has been UA’s catalyst, leading the team in kills the last three matches including recording 22 kills against New Mexico State 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.
Fall Signing Class: Arizona brings in arguably a Top 10 recruiting class for the 2011 season after singing five highly-touted recruits to National Letters-Of-Intent. Halli Amaro (Los Alamitos, Calif.) , Shaquillah Torres (Orange, Calif.), Chloe Mathis (La Jolla, Calif.), Taylor Arizobal (Dana Hills, Calif.) and Rachel Rhoades (San Diego, Calif.) comprise this year’s class. This season, Amaro and Mathis were each named to the Under Armour All-America team. Mathis, from La Jolla, Calif., is a First Team selection while Amaro was on the Second Team. Two other newcomers for Arizona next season are Madison Kingdon (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Liz Manthei (Las Vegas, Nev.). Kingdon, the Player of the Year in Arizona this season, has signed a financial aid agreement and will graduate early from high school to join UA during the spring semester. Both her and Manthei also garnered All-America recognition.
NCAA Selection Sunday: This year’s annual NCAA Selection show will be November 28 from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on ESPNews. Tune in to find out who the Wildcats will face in the NCAA Tournament.