May 14, 2012
TUCSON, Ariz. -
Head coach David Rubio and the Arizona volleyball team concluded a successful 2012 spring season after competing in four tournaments in Arizona, New Mexico and California.
The Wildcats kicked off the spring season on March 24 at the Arizona Spring Tournament at McKale Center, traveled to Las Cruces, N.M., San Diego, Calif. and Irvine, Calif. to take on New Mexico State, San Diego and UC Irvine.
“You often judge spring tournaments, not by how many matches you win, or how many games you win,” Rubio said. “You judge it on the improvements of the individuals who played and the improvement of the team as a group.”
The squad returns some key players from the 2011 season, but also will lose seniors Cursty Jackson, Courtney Karst and Marketa Hanzlova.
“We really had nowhere to go but up,” Rubio said. “We have five freshmen and two sophomores, so we are an extremely young team. We felt like we made some really good strides in both of those areas. Our skills got much better and our team developed overall as a group. We feel pretty positive going into next year’s season.”
Despite the loss of senior leadership, the team will return several underclassmen who saw significant playing time in 2011.
“By far our biggest concern or issue would just be the youth of our group,” Rubio said. “We are trying to develop the maturity of their game and the emotional, mental part of their game. There isn’t much we can do about it now, now that spring is finished, but we feel pretty good about the progress we’ve made—I feel like we have advanced the ball during the time we had this spring.”
The Wildcats also added Florida transfer Chanel Brown in the offseason, a key player in Arizona’s lineup.
“Chanel coming in mid-semester was a blessing for us in a lot of different ways,” Rubio said. “By far, the biggest aspect of her coming was, we were able to develop as a team, as a group of seven players. Had she not come, we would advance from a skill standpoint, but not nearly as well as a team. In fact, we probably would have fallen behind, or moved backwards in that area. She was instrumental in that and it would not have happened if she wouldn’t have been there.”
Although the 2012 Arizona volleyball schedule is not finalized, the Wildcats will likely open their season in late August with the Wildcat Classic.