By Sean Collins
Arizona Communication Services
With a new volleyball season right around the corner, head coach Dave Rubio’s 2013 squad will have an unprecedented amount of height. Freshmen Ashley Harris, who is 6-8, and McKenzie Jacobson, who is 6-6, are two of the tallest women in the history of Arizona Athletics.
Harris, who is from Petaluma, Calif. and attended Casa Grande High School is a right side hitter and was named an Under Armour first-team All-American as a high school senior.
Jacobson, from Fresno, Calif., is a middle blocker out of Clovis West High School. She earned second-team Under Armour All-America honors.
The duo have always been tall, a drastic growth spurt never occurred, it always been consistent growth for the pair of student-atheltes. When they were asked about their height, both of them said it did not bother them and they are certainly used to it.
“I’ve always been the tallest kid in my class,” Harris said. “In elementary school, I would grow about four inches each year, so I’m definitely used to it.”
Now, Jacobson and Harris can share the experience of being the tallest women on campus.
“I’ve been tall for as long as I can remember, “Jacobson said. “It’s been a pretty steady growth for me.”
Like any freshmen, Harris and Jacobson are learning to adjust to the college game. One adjustment for the pair will be playing with somebody equal to their height—something they have never faced.
“I’ve been the tallest person on a volleyball court for my whole life up until Ashley and I started playing together,” Jacobson said. “I like playing with her, it’s been fun. We competed against each other in club volleyball so I’ve known her for a couple years now and it’s been great.”
The great coaching staff and teammates have been helping them along thus far.
“It’s definitely a lot harder in college,” Jacobson said. “I’m slowly adjusting, but it’s fun and I like it.”
Harris has really used the resources she has and tried to soak in all the knowledge that everybody involved with the team is trying to give her.
“The girls are really helpful and teaching me the defenses,” Harris said. “I really like the coaching style and I feel like I’m doing well.”
When the Wildcats face Stanford on Nov. 27 in McKale Center, Harris and Jacobson will finally face somebody that is listed at 6-8. Nobody in the conference is taller.
“I’ve never played somebody that is taller than me,” Harris said. “I’m really looking forward to just competing. We have so much talent this year and hopefully I can get in and contribute.”
Harris and Jacobson will join a team that features three 2012 All-Pac-12 honorees in Madi Kingdon, Halli Amaro and Olivia Magill. The Wildcats, who return six starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's squad, received 52 total points in the conference preseason poll. They are selected to finish eighth. Kingdon also received Preseason All-Pac-12 Team accolades.
Arizona's 33rd season of volleyball will get underway at home with the Arizona Invitational on Aug. 30 and 31. Arizona will open the tournament against Morgan State on Aug. 30 at 1:30 p.m. before facing Central Arkansas (10:30 a.m.) and No. 20 Kansas (7 p.m.) on Aug. 31.