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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Volleyball team looks toward future in weekend trip to L.A.

    UA junior middle blocker Dominique Lamb (10) rears back before swinging for a kill Oct. 27 in a four-set loss against California in McKale Center. Sitting in the back of the Pac-10 standings, the Wildcats face not making the postseason for the first time in 10 years.
    UA junior middle blocker Dominique Lamb (10) rears back before swinging for a kill Oct. 27 in a four-set loss against California in McKale Center. Sitting in the back of the Pac-10 standings, the Wildcats face not making the postseason for the first time in 10 years.

    The Arizona volleyball team is in its second five-game losing streak in the Pacific 10 Conference this year and in the pit of the conference standings, and the Wildcats are no longer focused solely on the postseason.

    UA head coach Dave Rubio said his team is now concentrating on ways it can build to benefit the future as Arizona (10-13, 1-10 Pac-10) faces another tough weekend slate in Los Angeles.

    The Wildcats travel to Southern California this weekend to battle No. 6 USC tonight and No. 5 UCLA tomorrow night in a pair of 7 p.m. matches. Both opponents handed Arizona a loss in their previous meetings the weekend of Oct. 6 in McKale Center.

    “”The future is the key to the program,”” UA head coach Dave Rubio said. “”This season we have been very unpredictable with how we play every match. I would just like to see us play well two nights in a row.””

    Although Arizona is not mathematically out of contention for the postseason, Rubio said it is highly unlikely his team will be playing in the NCAA Tournament.

    The Wildcats are traveling down a road that not too many Arizona teams under Rubio are familiar with, as they would be the first team in 10 years not to make the trip to the postseason.

    “”The reality is we are not going to run the table,”” Rubio said.

    The team isn’t spending much time worrying about what will happen down the road, but rather is trying to focus on the present.

    “”I think we are just going to try to get out of this slump we are in,”” freshman outside hitter Whitney Dosty said.

    The Women of Troy (19-3 8-3) come into this weekend after losing three of their last five matches, but they swept Arizona in the squads’ last meeting.

    USC is led by junior outside hitter Asia Kaczor, a member of the Polish national team, who is second in the Pac-10 in kills per game with 4.59.

    After the two teams met the last time, Rubio described Kaczor as being at the professional level, following a 10-kill, six-dig performance.

    As a team, USC hits .253 and averages 16.06 kills a game, while Arizona is hitting .170 and averages 13.98 kills a game.

    Junior middle blocker Dominique Lamb said the team is not worried about the Trojans’ high hitting percentage.

    “”We are one of the top teams in the conference in blocking,”” she said. “”Hopefully we will make some good plays and bring down their attacking percentage.””

    UCLA (22-2, 9-2) also has done well in the hitting column, posting a .269 percentage.

    The Bruins are led by senior middle blocker Nana Meriwether, who leads the nation with a .474 hitting percentage.

    Although the Wildcats know their opponents play at a very high level, they are trying to focus on how they can be more productive as a team.

    Dosty said it is very frustrating that the Wildcats come so close to winning matches against top-ranked teams before coming up short of getting the win.

    “”We just need to concentrate on how we can finish games,”” she said. “”We need to be more aggressive towards the end rather than playing not to lose. We need to keep the ball in play and not worry about making an error.””

    Rubio shared his frustration with his team’s inability to secure close games against tough opponents.

    “”I think we have been in a position to beat every single team in our conference, we just haven’t been able to maintain a high level of confidence towards the end of the games,”” Rubio said.

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