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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA volleyball head to CSU

    UA outside hitter Whitney Dosty, left, tries to get the ball past an ASU blocker in a 3-0 win Wednesday night in McKale Center. The No. 25 Wildcats take on No. 12 Colorado State this weekend.
    UA outside hitter Whitney Dosty, left, tries to get the ball past an ASU blocker in a 3-0 win Wednesday night in McKale Center. The No. 25 Wildcats take on No. 12 Colorado State this weekend.

    No. 12 Colorado State has dominated its last eight competitors and won 22 consecutive matches at its home Moby Arena.

    Despite this glaring stat, the No. 25 Arizona volleyball team (12-2, 2-1 Pac-10) will challenge the Rams (11-1, 3-0 Midwest Conference) under the Rams’ roof in Saturday’s 7 p.m. match.

    Arizona has fallen to the Rams in its last two encounters with them – the Wildcats were swept 3-0 last season in McKale Center.

    “”They’re a very good team and they’re very good at home,”” UA head coach Dave Rubio said of the Rams, who are eighth in the country in attendance at 2,684 fans per match. “”We’re going to have to be pretty solid from our serving to passing, to our ability to defend their offense. But business is usual for us in terms of what we have to do on our side of the net.””

    As much as the team will try to focus on its own side of the net, Arizona can’t help but to be a little nervous – even intimidated – by the content on the other side.

    “”Their middle (Mekana Barnes) is really strong – she’s going to be an All-American, according to Dave – and she’s a senior too, so she has the experience,”” said sophomore Stephanie Snow. “”But if our middles can get our arms over the net fast enough, then we’ll be fine.””

    After watching scouting reports on CSU, Snow also said Barnes is by far CSU’s best player.

    On top of the Barnes factor, the Wildcats will have to keep their eyes on another middle blocker: junior Tessa Nelson, who was named the Midwest Conference volleyball co-Player of the Week on Monday.

    The middle position usually has the most contribution as far as blocking goes and CSU leads the nation in blocking per set at 3.12.

    “”I’m probably least confident with being consistent – it’s kind of a pattern I feel,”” said UA redshirt sophomore Whitney Dosty. “”But I’m most confident as a team. When we’re in a hole, I know we’ll dig ourselves out – we proved that against ASU (Wednesday).””

    Shaq gives squad his blessings
    As the Wildcats trek out to Fort Collins today, they’ll have to leave behind Thursday’s practice, which didn’t run as smoothly as planned, according to the head coach.

    “”Practice was a little rough (Thursday),”” Rubio said. “”We (were) working on some things for the Colorado State scouting report, but it is what it is, and we have to be able to move on and be ready to focus on (Saturday) night’s match.””

    Despite what Rubio thought of practice, Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O’Neal – who is in Tucson for preseason training – thought differently.

    “”They’re pretty good. They were very athletic out there (in yesterday’s practice),”” O’Neal said of the Wildcats. “”I wish them well (at CSU).””

    As much as the 7-foot-1 legend is around basketball, he manages to know a thing or two about volleyball because of a little someone.

    “”My daughter plays volleyball,”” O’Neal said. “”She’s in Houston, Texas – she’s in junior high – and she loves volleyball very much. It’s a great sport.””

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