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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Veteran V-ball players help ease freshmen into college game

When the four freshmen on the Arizona volleyball team got to campus during the summer, they knew that there would be an adjustment period, just not how long it would take them.

There’s no better way to learn something than to do it, right?

Three of the four first-year players saw significant playing time at last weekend’s Shamrock Invitational in South Bend, Ind. The fourth, Tarryn Luafalemana, only missed seeing action because of a foot injury.

“”I was very pleased (with how they performed). I thought we struggled a little bit in the Cal Poly match, but we made some adjustments, and they did well,”” said head coach Dave Rubio. “”Candace Nicholson was starting as our defensive specialist, and she did really well …  

Statistically, there are some numbers that I look at that need to be better, and I think those are indicators of where we are and where we need to go.””

Madeline Lozano, in her first season at UA out of Oakmont High School in Roseville, Calif., saw action in all 11 sets last weekend.

“”I didn’t really expect how college volleyball was going to play until I really was into the game — that’s where it kind of hit me as far as how I need to work throughout the game and play my hardest,”” said Lozano. “”It’s just faster and you have to be prepared more both mentally and physically.High school was more laid back for me, and this is just way more intense.””

Athletic Performance on the court isn’t the only adjustment impacting the freshmen when they arrive on campus. New players also need to be able to maintain their academic performance and establish their new social lives.

Fellow freshman Emily Helm has had a similar experience since making her way to Tucson from Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz.

“”I’ve learned that it’s really hard to come in as a freshman, but being around the older girls, I’ve adapted really well. It was really fun to play against that level of competition and experience it for the first time,”” said Helm. “”In college, there are a lot more things that you have to balance out. It’s been hard but it’s fun and it’s been worth it.””

Fortunately for the Arizona freshmen, they know that they have all of the help and support they need in their four senior teammates.

“”It’s really hard to come in as a freshman and be thrown into live action, especially playing against some older competition,”” said senior setter Paige Weber. “”It’s really hard to step out and try to take over a game as a freshman, but I think that they did a great job.””

Lozano definitely embraces and uses the support and experience that her senior teammates have to offer.

“”I rely on them all the time,”” Lozano said.  “”They’re (the freshmen’s) idols, they’re our role models, and I definitely look up to them.””

Helm echoed Lozano’s feelings on this year’s senior class.

“”Yeah, it’s definitely helpful,”” said Helm. “”They help us a lot, and guide us in the right direction.””

Arizona volleyball fans will get to see how much the freshman class has grown since gaining its first experience when UA hosts the Wildcat Classic by Marriott University Park this weekend.

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