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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Cats, Beavers try to rise from Pac-10 cellar”

    UA sophomore libero Brittany Leonard digs the ball in Arizonas four-set loss to ASU Sept. 22 in McKale Center. Leonard and the Wildcats begin a critical road trip tonight at Oregon State, who has the same 0-5 Pacific 10 Conference record as Arizona does.
    UA sophomore libero Brittany Leonard digs the ball in Arizona’s four-set loss to ASU Sept. 22 in McKale Center. Leonard and the Wildcats begin a critical road trip tonight at Oregon State, who has the same 0-5 Pacific 10 Conference record as Arizona does.

    Although the Arizona volleyball team isn’t playing a pair of top-10 opponents this week like it did the past two, the team’s outlook is that the next two games are the most important of the season.

    The Wildcats (9-8, 0-5 Pacific 10 Conference) will attempt to begin the march to turn their season around when they travel to the Beaver state to face Oregon State (3-11, 0-5) tonight at 7.

    Although Arizona has won the last 19 meetings between the two schools, UA head coach Dave Rubio said that winning is imperative if the Wildcats still want to have hopes of seeing the postseason.

    “”We have to split this weekend at the very minimum to have a shot at the postseason,”” he said about the trip that also includes tomorrow’s game against Oregon. “”On any given night, for any of the teams in the conference, regardless really of who you are playing against, if you are not ready to play, you are going to lose.””

    The Beavers are suffering through their second losing streak of at least five games after suffering a streak of six earlier in the year, but they do have freshman outside hitter Rachel Rourke, who is fifth in the conference in kills (4.35).

    But Arizona isn’t overlooking them.

    “”It is going to be a tough weekend for us,”” Rubio said. “”Even though we aren’t playing a (No.) 3- through 6-ranked team, in reality it is still going to be tough. It’s going to be on the road. It’s going to be against teams just like us.””

    Unlike earlier in the season, when the Wildcats had trouble coming out of the gates ready to play, now they are having trouble winning the close games.

    Arizona has lost late leads countless times this year, including twice against No. 4 USC, which may have cost the Wildcats the match.

    In game two against the Women of Troy, Arizona held a 26-21 lead, only to give up a late run and eventually lose the game. In the third game, Arizona had a game point opportunity, but they let the game slip away once again.

    Rubio said the only real weakness his team has is the ability to play “”steady and consistent”” at the end of games.

    “”When we get to the mid-20s we make too many unforced errors,”” he said.

    Junior middle blocker Dominique Lamb, who is third in the Pac-10 in blocks per game with 1.55, said she doesn’t know why the team breaks down toward the end of close matches, but she does know that they are trying everything in their power to fix it.

    “”We just couldn’t score,”” she said. “”We work hard in practice to try to fix these kinds of things. We have been doing mini games to six to try to work on that. Everything is important this week. We need to win.””

    Freshman outside hitter Whitney Dosty said that she was disappointed with the fact the team couldn’t finish last week and couldn’t say enough as to how important finishing games are.

    “”When it comes down to it, I think it is all about keeping our balls in toward the end of the game and waiting for a good swing,”” Dosty said. “”If we aren’t able to terminate the ball right away, we just need to keep the ball in and try again on the next play.””

    Rubio said all he is concerned with is keeping his team ready to play.

    “”I think the teams that are the best mentally prepared are going to be the ones that come out and do well,”” Rubio said.

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