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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball heads to Pepperdine for first road trip

Larry Hogan/Arizona Daily Wildcat Ronni Lewis, No. 1, celebrates during a volleyball match in McKale Center on Aug. 25, 2012.

Two weeks ago, Arizona’s volleyball team still had many question marks heading into its first scrimmage of the season. Now, the season is in full regular season mode, and its still unclear whether or not the Wildcats young roster will be able to make its fourth straight NCAA tournament berth, head coach Dave Rubio and company will have a better idea after this weekend though when Arizona takes Jiangsu China at 11:30 a.m. today, followed by an 8:30 p.m. match against Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif. in the Pepperdine Asics Classic.

“Right now, we’re still trying to work out the kinks in practice which is a struggle,” sophomore outside hitter Taylor Arizobal said. ““We’ve been doing a lot of skill work during practice, just hitting technique and what line to go after and things like that.”

Rubio demands competitiveness and high energy levels from his players every time out and sophomore middle blocker Rachel Rhoades said the newcomers are still getting used to the expectations. The will be the first away game of the season for the Wildcats.

“The biggest challenge this weekend is probably going to be not playing down a level and just keeping our energy up,” sophomore libero Ronni Lewis said. “We struggled a little bit with that last weekend.”

At the Wildcat Classic last weekend, the offense struggled to keep the ball consistently in play. Rubio attributed the problem partially to the communication and energy levels on the court along with to simple footwork adjustments the setters needed to make. Rubio said he expects Arizobal to and fellow outside hitter Madi Kingdon to be the most productive hitters on the court every time.

“For me, communicating with my setter and her telling me what to hit that really helps me,” Arizobal said. “I think if we play hard and play really well and communicate we can take the tournament easily.”

While production at the net may need improvement, Rubio is confident about the potential he has to work with especially in players like freshman middle blocker Olivia Magill.

“When an easy play is coming its easy to get in a mind set where you don’t think you have to work, but in reality you have to work harder,” Lewis said. “If we have energy and play hard and stay together as a team we’ll work wonders.”

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