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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No vacation in Hawaii

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA vs Texas State at McKale Center at AU in Tucson Friday Sept 17, 2010

For Arizona volleyball, this week doubles as the first week of classes and competition. While the majority of students are concluding the week with imminent back-to-school parties on their minds, the volleyball team will be hard at work in Hawaii.

Before the potential jealousy sets in, the team is there for business — it’s no vacation. The Wildcats will kick off their season in Honolulu at the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational, where they’ll take on tough competitors like the University of Hawaii Warriors and the Wichita State Shockers.

“There are lot of reasons why you’d want to go there, vacation is one of them, because that’s what most people associate with this competition,” said volleyball head coach David Rubio. “But when you’re in the throes of competition, you could be in Alaska versus Hawaii and it wouldn’t make a difference, because you’re not participating in any of the extracurricular things.”

The team will arrive on Thursday and compete Friday through Sunday, with one match per day. Despite staying across the street from the famous Waikiki beach, their time gaps will be filled with practices and game preparation, No surfing, sunbathing or luaus, Rubio said.

It will be senior Curtsy Jackson’s first trip to the tropical state.

“I am super excited, but at the same time it is a business trip, so we wont get to enjoy it as much as I would like,” said Jackson, who is one of the seven returning starters for the Wildcats.

University of Hawaii volleyball head coach Dave Shoji, a good friend of Rubio’s, has been on him to return to the tournament for the past several years, Rubio said. He gave in, making this Arizona’s fourth appearance in the tournament within the last 20 years.

It might be their fourth most-expensive tournament as well, considering this one is estimated to cost $1,000 to $1,500 more than an average trip for them, Rubio said.

Aside from the obvious perks of traveling to Hawaii, Rubio thinks the overall volleyball experience outweighs the higher costs.

“It’s always a little more expensive to travel there, but they give a pretty good guarantee to offset our costs,” Rubio said. “They annually have the largest crowds in attendance, you’re treated like you’re a high-level basketball team.”

Volleyball is to Hawaii as basketball is to Arizona — it’s huge there. Rubio says the larger crowds are motivating factors for the players.

“Hawaii has a reputation of having so many fans and it’s hard to beat them at home,” Jackson said. “I want to be the team that sweeps them.”

As for the starting line-up, nothing is permanent. The team had their annual Red-Blue Scrimmage last Saturday, where Rubio began to play with potential line-ups.

This year the team has three returning starters, seniors Courtney Karst, Candace Nicholson and Jackson, whereas the other teams participating in the tournament, especially the Warriors and Shockers, all have a strong, returning base of starters. Rubio says the tournament will be “young versus old.”

By starting out in Hawaii, the freshmen are jumping in head first.

“We are suppose to be a young team, but I have confidence that how young we are will not be a problem,” Jackson said. “The freshman are super competitive. They all bring such a positive energy that is just so refreshing.”

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