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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona’s Paige Whipple named to All-Pac-12 preseason team

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Amy Bailey

Arizona outside hitter Paige Whipple strikes the ball to ASU in the Arizona versus Arizona State game in McKale Center on Sept. 20, 2018, in Tucson, Az. The Wildcats beat ASU 3-0.

Arizona Wildcats’ Paige Whipple was named to the preseason All-Pac-12 conference team. She is the first Wildcat to be chosen to this list since Kalei Mau and Penina Snuka back in 2016.

During Whipple’s recruitment, Arizona was hesitant at first to offer her a scholarship. During Whipple’s sophomore year, former assistant coach Gregg Whitis went to see her at a tournament in Las Vegas while she was playing on her high school club team. He was determining whether or not to pull the trigger and offer her a scholarship onto the team. Since head coach Dave Rubio was unable to make the trip to Las Vegas that day, he had no choice but to trust Whitis in making the right decision. 

“[Whitis], you have to make the call. You’re there; I’m not there,” Rubio said. “Is she going to be good enough? Is she going to be skilled enough to be able to play the role we want her to play? You have to make the call.”

Whitis would end up making the right call as Whipple has now turned into one of the Wildcats’ most important players. In 2019, Whipple turned in one of the most productive seasons as an outside hitter in the Pac-12. She averaged 3.94 kills/sets and that ranked sixth best in the Pac-12. 

RELATED: Q&A with Arizona volleyball’s Kamaile Hiapo

“I’m glad that we did,” Rubio said. “Again, [Whipple] has been a terrific role model for our players, and again, she is one of the best people I have been around and associated within this program.”

Whipple plays with tremendous confidence on the court, but it wasn’t always like that. Whipple said that it wasn’t until her junior year that she stopped getting nervous before her games. She is now one of only two seniors on this year’s team that is hoping to rebound from their 2019 season that was riddled with injuries and unfortunate events.

“At this point, our team looks like a bunch of misfits, and no one expects us to win a game in this conference,” Whipple said. “I’m going to do what I can to contribute to the team, and I know my teammates are going to do what they can to contribute to the team.” 

Arizona will begin its season by traveling to Salt Lake City to face No. 10 Utah on Friday, Jan. 22, and again on Sunday, Jan. 24. 


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