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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

V-ball sweeps tourney

Gordon Bates/ Arizona Daily Wildcat
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

When a team is as talented as the Arizona volleyball squad, it can beat most of its opponents just by showing up, like it did to Butler and Cal State, Bakersfield this weekend in the Wildcat Classic. But when all of that talent gets motivated, that team can be downright scary, and that’s exactly what the Wildcats were in their five-set thriller against Louisville.

“”I’m pleased … it gives us kind of a line of where we are. We’re winning, but we can still play a lot better,”” said head coach Dave Rubio after Sunday’s win over CSUB. “”We’re just not as smooth as I’d like us to be. There’s about 75 percent of the actual game when we’re playing pretty well but 25 percent where we’re breaking down in areas where we shouldn’t be breaking down.””

Rubio then explained that, since it’s only the second week of the season, there’s plenty of time to work out the kinks.

He then went on to heap praise on Whitney Dosty, a senior outside hitter from Tucson’s Salpointe Catholic High School.

“”I think Whitney (Dosty) had the best weekend of her career. She was the most dominant player out there and clearly the most powerful and athletic player out there,”” said an unprompted Rubio. “”She had a great night last night against Louisville. She just put amazing numbers up. Those were All-American-level numbers.””

Dosty attributes her success this season to a mental change she has made in her preparation.

“”It’s just working hard in practice. Not that I haven’t, but this is my fifth year, so going into every practice knowing that this is my last year to get it done,”” Dosty said. “”I think that just being able to perform hard and go hard every practice is what I attribute it to.””

Although the Wildcats passed their toughest test of the season to date — Friday night’s match against Louisville — in dramatic fashion, the story of the weekend is Arizona’s dominance over teams that it can physically overpower despite dropping the opening match of the season to Cal Poly.

“”When (the players) don’t feel threatened by a team, they get a little nonchalant. In practice, it’s the same thing. We really fade in and out of practice,”” said Rubio after the Wildcats’ opening win against Butler. “”We can look great and fantastic and phenomenal for one play, but that one play is not going to win the game.””

Senior setter Paige Weber echoed Rubio’s sentiment about the lack of focus the Wildcats have displayed at times throughout the year.

“”If you have any doubts when you walk off the court at the break we have between the second and third game, you’re done,”” Weber said. “”You can’t have any doubts. You have to walk off the court knowing that it doesn’t matter what happened in the first two sets. The next game is a fresh start. Everyone starts at zero.””

 

Rubio pleased with Lozano’s progress

When freshman middle blocker Tarryn Luafalemana went down with a foot injury in fall camp, Rubio thought the absence might be a hole that other teams would be able to exploit.

Well, another freshman, Madeline Lozano, has helped ease his worries.

“”She gives you everything she has. The only thing you can ask from your players is to give their very best every single play, and that’s exactly what she does,”” Rubio said. “”She’s just wired in a way that she never gives up — she’s fighting every play.””

But Lozano is still new to collegiate volleyball and will undoubtedly make some mistakes that will drive her coach crazy.

“”Even though you want to scream and yell at them sometimes and throw your hands around their throats and say, ‘What are you thinking,’ it’s all a part of coaching,”” Rubio said. “”All you can ask is giving their all every single play.””

Arizona will continue this weekend at the Wolf Pack Invitational, hosted by the University of Nevada in Reno, Nev., where the Wildcats will take on Pacific University, Univeristy of Nevada-Reno and NAU.

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