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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


‘Cats back on track at home

Timothy Galaz
Timothy Galaz / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Wildcats plays Oregon on October 10th 2009 at McKale CenterTimothy Galaz / Arizona Daily Wildcat Number 23, Courtney Karst, hits the ball over the blocking hands of two Oregon players during the volleyball match on October 10th 2009 in McKale Center.

After three straight conference losses, Arizona volleyball needed to find some way to turn its fortune around. The Wildcats played a two-match weekend at home against Oregon State on Friday and No. 11 Oregon on Saturday, and came out victorious in both contests.

“”You try to defend the home court if you can, and you try to steal one on the road,”” said head coach Dave Rubio of playing at home in the Pacific 10 Conference.

The No. 22 Wildcats (14-3, 3-3 Pac-10) swept the weekend at home, defeating the Oregon State Beavers in five sets and taking down the Oregon Ducks in four.

“”There’s a point where we need to get back on our feet and stay confident,”” outside hitter Whitney Dosty said. “”I think the last two games (against Washington and Washington State) we didn’t do that very well.””

The biggest difference this weekend was the Wildcats’ swagger — they looked more like the team that started out the season 12-0.

After a streak of set losses extended to 10, Arizona was able to stop the bleeding in the second set against Oregon State (10-6, 1-3 Pac-10). A few controversial calls in the fourth set fueled the fire for the Wildcats, who struck early in the fifth set, winning 15-6 to seal the match.

“”The fifth set is always the wild card. You’re not sure how the complexion of that game is going to go,”” Rubio said. “”If you went the other way, you lose four in a row in the conference. It’s hard to rebound from that.””

Junior setter Paige Weber recorded a season-high 52 sets in the match while sophomore Courtney Karst tallied 14 kills. Juniors Dosty and Tiffany Owens fueled Arizona’s offense, notching 12 and 18 kills, respectively.

“”Whitney had a terrific night (Friday),”” Rubio said. “”Having her over there is a threat to score. Her error percentage is way down.””

Arizona brought its momentum from the win against the Beavers into its match against the No. 11 Oregon Ducks (12-3, 2-3 Pac-10). The Wildcats won the first set 25-20, but the rest of the match was highly competitive and two of the sets went into deuce.

The second and fourth sets were very similar. The second saw 10 score ties and four lead changes before the Ducks eventually won 29-27. The fourth and final set in the match would go the Wildcats’ way with a 31-29 score.

“”It’s a big confidence booster, carrying over from one night to another,”” Dosty said. “”Being able to execute, keep points on our side and not giving any more up … is the biggest thing we need to work on.””

Arizona’s attack returned this weekend as well. Three players registered double figures in the match against Oregon State, and five did so against the Ducks.

“”You never know what you’re going to get because every team in the Pac-10 is really good,”” Owens said. “”All we’ve got to do is focus on us and what we have to do, and go from there.””

Arizona’s next match is the first installment of the Duel in the Desert with rival ASU. The Sun Devils are in last place in the conference, with a record of 11-7 overall.

Consistently winning in the conference will be the biggest challenge for Arizona, and beating the Sun Devils will be imperative for the Wildcats to keep pace with the other Pac-10 powers.

“”You never know when the next streak is going to happen,”” Rubio said, “”good or bad.””

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