Nov. 27, 2001
Upcoming: The Wildcats are among the 64 teams vying for the Division I NCAA National Championship, earning an at-large bid as the No.5 seed to the field with a 21-4 overall record. Arizona, which finished its season last year in the Elite Eight, will face Eastern Illinois in the opening round in Champaign-Urbana, Ill. Arizona's match with the Panthers will be played at 6 p.m. CST.
Arizona Starting Lineup Possibilities
Setter - Dana Burkholder - 13.01 apg, .378 hitting
Right Side- Jill Talbot - .431 hitting , 3.36 kpg, 3.26 dpg
Outside - Lisa Rutledge - 4.20 kpg / Shannon Torregrosa - 3.92 kpg/* Christina Frost - 1.23 kpg
Middle Blocker- Stefani Saragosa - .379 hitting, 1.06 bpg / Erin Sebbas - .366 hitting
Defensive Specialist- Rachel Williams - 1.52 dpg / Kelli Mulvany - 2.06 dpg
* Frost will start if Torregrosa is unable to play
The Opposition: EASTERN ILLINOIS- The Panthers received a NCAA Tournament automatic berth as the Ohio Valley Conference Champions. EIU finished its season 21-8 overall and 12-4 in conference play and will be making its first ever appearance in the postseason. The Panthers are led by outside hitter Erica Gerth, who leads the team with 3.27 kills per game, and middle hitter Leslie Przekwas, who averages 3.20 kpg and is hitting .335 for the season. Arizona and EIU have never met in a match and have shared no common opponents this season.
Arizona - Eastern Illinois Season Stats Head-To-Head
KPG Pct. APG SAPG BPG DPG
Arizona 17.24 .304 15.38 1.72 2.49 15.19
Eastern Illinois 15.62 .231 14.33 1.86 2.10 17.29
ILLINOIS- Host school Illinois enters the NCAA Tournament with a 20-8 overall record and a 13-7 mark, tied for fourth, in the Big Ten Conference. The Illini are making their 14th appearance in the postseason and third in four seasons. Illinois has a 18-13 overall record in NCAA Tournament play and have twice finished third (1987, '88). The Illini are led by 6-5 sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Lisa Albright, who is averaging 3.54 kills per game and 1.36 blocks. Senior Lydia Gard is the Illini's top hitter with a .388 attack percentage. Should Illinois and Arizona play it would be the first ever meeting between the two schools. UA and UI shared Florida as its lone common opponent in 2001. The Wildcats swept the Gators in Gainesville, while the Illini stumbled to them at home early in the season on their home floor.
Arizona - Illinois Season Stats Head-To-Head
KPG Pct. APG SAPG BPG DPG
Arizona 17.24 .304 15.38 1.72 2.49 15.19
Illinois 15.10 .248 13.63 1.53 3.03 13.79
MISSOURI- The Tigers enter the NCAA field for the second consecutive season and time and are 0-1 overall. With an overall record of 20-10 and 10-9 in conference play, Missouri is one of eight Big XII schools to be selected for postseason play. The Tigers are led by junior middle blocker Christi Myers who averages 3.43 kills and 1.22 blocks per game. Should the Wildcats and Tigers meet it will be the second meeting ever and the first since 1995, a match Arizona won, 3-0. Arizona and Missouri have not shared any common opponents this season.
Arizona - Missouri Season Stats Head-To-Head
KPG Pct. APG SAPG BPG DPG
Arizona 17.24 .304 15.38 1.72 2.49 15.19
Missouri 15.93 .239 14.16 1.63 2.36 17.43
The NCAA Tournament Field: Of the 64 teams invited to play for the national championship this season, seven teams are making their initial appearances in the field: University of Pennsylvania, Eastern Illinois University, Florida International University, Georgia Southern University, Northeastern University, College of William and Mary and Xavier University. Among the conferences, the Big XII were the big winners with eight teams (Nebraska, Missouri, Texas Tech, Texas, Baylor, Colorado and Texas A&M) advancing to postseason play. The Pac-10 (Arizona, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington State) and the Big Ten (Wisconsin, Ohio State, Minnesota, Penn State, Illinois and Michigan State) each have six.
Arizona in NCAA Tournament Play: Arizona's berth in the 2001 NCAA Division I Championship Tournament is the 17th invitation to postseason play in school history, tenth best among all Division I teams. The Wildcats are 15-16 all-time in those matches and are 11-7 under current head coach David Rubio. Rubio led teams have now appeared in the NCAA's in eight of his ten seasons at the helm, including the last six seasons straight. His .611 winning percentage in the tournament makes him the winningest coach in postseason play in school history.
Arizona vs. NCAA Bound Teams: The Wildcats have faced 9 of the 64 teams that have qualified for the 2001 postseason tournament and own a 10-4 record against them. The Wildcats split their season series with USC and UCLA, twice defeated Washington State and Oregon State, bested Florida, 3-0, on its home floor, swept matches with Utah, Louisville and UC Santa Barbara and fell twice to Stanford in five games.
Opening Round Matches: Under David Rubio, Arizona has qualified for seven tournament appearances prior to this season. In those appearances, Arizona has failed to advance past the first round only once. A 1997 loss to Oral Roberts is the only blemish on a 6-1 first round record. More recently (i.e. the last two seasons), Arizona has enjoyed more success, advancing on to the regional sites. In 1999 the Cats clawed their way to the Sweet 16 with an upset win over Texas in Austin and last season made the first ever showing in the Elite Eight.
Tournament Tested: Arizona's roster is loaded with players who have played meaningful matches in the NCAA Tournament. Four starters return from last season's Elite Eight squad and five others have played significant roles. The Wildcats are led by 2001 All-American candidate Dana Burkholder who has played in nine tournament matches during her four-year career. Burkholder is Arizona's career leader in both assists (374) and digs (84) in postseason play. Classmate and fellow All-American candidate Jill Talbot has also seen action in nine tournament matches and was nearly unstoppable last season. The right-side hitter hit .500 in Arizona's four matches and owns a career .417 attack percentage in tournament play. Other returning starters for Arizona are outside hitter Lisa Rutledge (seven matches, 58 kills) and defensive specialist Rachel Williams (seven matches, 25 digs). See page 5 of the notes for all of Arizona's tournament stats.
All-Pac-10 Honors Abundant For Arizona: For the second consecutive season, the Arizona volleyball team had three members named to the All-Pac-10 squad. Seniors Dana Burkholder and Jill Talbot, along with junior Lisa Rutledge comprised one-fourth of the 12 person team. The honor is the third for Burkholder and the first for both Talbot and Rutledge. Burkholder becomes just the third player in school history to be named thrice in a career, joining former teammate Marisa DaLee and Barb Bell. Junior Stefani Saragosa was named Honorable Mention All-Pac-10, while first-year Wildcat Kelli Mulvany garnered honorable mention Freshman All-Pac-10 honors.
Countdown To 1,000: For the second straight season, Arizona could add two more names to the 1,000 career kill list. Junior Lisa Rutledge needs only four more to become the 11th member of the club, while senior Jill Talbot needs 36 more to join her. Should Talbot break the 1,000 kill barrier for her career, she would be just the second Wildcat ever to have 1,000 digs and 1,000 kills in a career. Up to this point, Terry Lauchner (1987-90) is the only Wildcat to have achieved the feat.
An End To The Conference Season: The Wildcats completed their conference season with a 14-4 conference mark, good enough for third place. The record equals the second-best mark for a conference season and the third place finish trails only the Pac-10 Co-Championship Arizona, won last season, in school history.
Non-Conference Competition: Despite playing in one of the toughest conferences in country, the Wildcats once again took on a competitive non-conference slate and did not lose a game in seven matches. The Wildcats took an early road trip to Gainesville, Fla., to face the Gators in "The Swamp". To date, Florida's lone loss this season came in the form of a 3-0 sweep by Arizona. The Wildcats hosted NCAA Tournament participants and top 25 teams Louisville and Utah in their Wildcat Classic Tournament and handed each its first loss of the season. Arizona ended its regular season with wins over Denver and NCAA Tournament entrant UC Santa Barbara in McKale Center.
Seeing With Triple-Double Vision, Again: Senior setter Dana Burkholder took a liking to playing Washington this season. The Arizona floor leader tallied her second triple-double of the season against the Huskies on Nov. 9, the school-record fifth trifecta of her career. The versatile senior had the Huskies on their heals all night long, finishing the match with 12 kills, 64 assists and 13 digs. She also got the rest of the offense involved, distributing the ball evenly enough for five other players to record double digit kills in the match. A night later, in Pullman, she almost tripled up the Cougars. She finished the match at Washington State with nine kills, 42 assists and nine digs. Her previous triple-double this season came on Oct.13 in the form of 10 kills, a season high 68 assists and 14 digs. Burkholder has nearly a quarter of the triple-doubles in school history (five of 22).
Burkholder's Career Triple-Doubles
1. vs. UCLA 10/22/1999 11 kills, 70 assists, 14 digs
2. vs. San Diego 09/02/2000 10 kills, 54 assists, 10 digs
3. vs. UCLA 10/12/2000 15 kills, 67 assists, 22 digs
4. vs. Washington 10/13/2001 10 Kills, 68 assists, 14 digs
5. at Washington 11/09/2001 12 Kills, 64 assists, 13 digs
On A Roll: The Wildcats won 11 straight Pac-10 Conference matches this season, establishing a new school record. Beginning with a 3-1 win at California on Oct. 8 and ending with a 3-0 win over the Golden Bears on Nov. 16, the streak smashed the previous best in conference play by four matches. Four players hit over .300 over the course of the seven week streak. Jill Talbot led all players with 139 kills on .433 hitting. She was followed by Dana Burkholder's 74 kills on .410 hitting, Erin Sebbas' 71 kills on .393 and Stefani Saragosa's 83 kill, .321 effort. As a team, the Wildcats hit .305 and averaged an impressive 18.11 kills per game. The previous school record of seven straight was established twice last season
Career Milestones: Senior Jill Talbot recorded her 1,000th career dig in Arizona's match against Washington State on Nov. 10. She is just the sixth player in school history to top the 1,000 mark in school history. Classmate Dana Burkholder joined the group earlier in this season to become just the second Wildcat to ever tally 1,000 digs and 1,000 assists ... Burkholder became just the fourth player in Pac-10 history to record 5,000 career assists this season when she dished out 106 of them in two matches against Washington and Washington State (Nov. 9-10) ... Burkholder also etched her name in the Arizona record books in the final match of the regular season, starting her school record tying 112th match of her career.
Torregrosa Tore It Up: Junior Shannon Torregrosa's impressive performances in matches against top 10 opponents USC and UCLA earned the first-year starter AVCA National and Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. The national honor is the first for any Arizona volleyball player in school history. The outside hitter averaged a team-high 5.83 kills, two digs and one block per game against the Bruins and Women of Troy. She finished the two matches with 35 kills on 67 attempts and only seven errors for a .418 hitting percentage. Unfortunately for the Cats, Torregrosa's power might not be available for the opening rounds of the tournament. In UA's match with Denver, she rolled her ankle in a collision with teammate Dana Burkholder and her status for play is uncertain.
Leader of the Pac: Arizona continues to rank among the top teams in the Pac-10 in nearly every category. The Wildcats are hitting .304 as a team for the season, while limiting opponents to a meager .181, both marks are third best in the conference. Senior Jill Talbot continues to lead all conference players in the individual hitting percentage category with a .431 attack effort, but teammates Dana Burkholder, Stefani Saragosa and Erin Sebbas are close behind . See the stats on page 3 to find where Arizona ranks among the Pac-10 teams and individuals.
Coaching Milestones: Arizona head coach David Rubio has doubled up on coaching milestones this season. First he won his 300th career match as a coach against Arizona State (10/5) and most recently added his 100th career Pac-10 coaching win in Eugene vs. Oregon (10/19).
With the victory over the Sun Devils, Rubio joined a long list of active Pac-10 coaches with 300 or more career victories.
Active Pac-10 Coaches with 300+ Career Wins*
1. Andy Banachowski, UCLA 916 (NCAA All Time Leader)
2. Mick Haley, USC 574
3. John Dunning, Stanford 464
4. Rich Feller, California 335
5. Cindy Fredrick, Washington St. 331
6. David Rubio, Arizona 313
* Win totals through Nov. 25.
And the win over the Ducks made Rubio just the sixth Pac-10 women's coach ever to reach 100 or more conference victories.
Pac-10 Coaches With 100+ Conference Wins
Andy Banachowski, UCLA *
Cindy Fredrick, WSU *
Lisa Love, USC
David Rubio, Arizona *
Don Shaw, Stanford
Patti Snyder, ASU *
* Active (Don Shaw is now the coach of the Stanford men's team)
20/20 Vision: Junior Lisa Rutledge became just the 10th Arizona player in school history to record a 20 kill - 20 dig match. The outside hitter finished Arizona's match against Arizona State (11/3) with a match-high 22 kills and a career-high 25 digs. The feat, which has been accomplished now 18 times, was the first for Arizona since Allison Napier finished with 29 kills and 21 digs in a five-game loss to UCLA last season. Arizona has had a played finish with a 20/20 match against Arizona State seven times.
Tidy Talbot: Senior Jill Talbot is not a player that misses her mark very often. In fact, she has 280 kills with only 61errors on 508 swings for a conference leading .431 hitting percentage this season. The right side player is averaging 11 kills, 20 attempts and only two errors per match. She leads Arizona with 280 digs, an average of 3.26 per game - fourth best in the conference thus far, and has recorded a team-high 10 double-doubles this season.
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. Now in his 10th season, 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 14 Pac-10 Player of the Week honors under his guide. During his tenure at Arizona, Rubio has led the Wildcats to 193 victories and a winning league mark over the last six seasons. Last year's 16-2 Pac-10 record smashed the school mark for conference victories.