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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Volleyball set to get back to winning ways in offseason

    Arizona middle blocker Jacy Norton swats the ball past two ASU defenders in a 3-0 loss to the Sun Devils on Nov. 7 in McKale Center. The Wildcats take on New Mexico State in a doubleheader tomorrow in McKale as part of their offseason spring tournament.
    Arizona middle blocker Jacy Norton swats the ball past two ASU defenders in a 3-0 loss to the Sun Devils on Nov. 7 in McKale Center. The Wildcats take on New Mexico State in a doubleheader tomorrow in McKale as part of their offseason spring tournament.

    After two straight seasons of sub-par performances by the UA volleyball team, the Wildcats will look to turn things in the right direction starting tomorrow as they begin offseason competition against New Mexico State in the Arizona Spring Tournament in McKale Center.

    Plagued by injuries in the last two seasons, the team failed to make the NCAA Tournament both years after having made 11 in a row before.

    “”The last two seasons haven’t been what we would have hoped,”” said junior Brooke Buringrud, “”but we have been working really hard this offseason so far to turn things around and bring to the program back to being on the top.””

    Now, with the team fully healthy, UA head coach Dave Rubio feels there is nothing that should hold the women back as they work toward next season.

    “”Should everyone be healthy, I feel like this coming year and the years to follow could be the best years we’ve seen in Arizona since I’ve been here,”” said Rubio, who has headed the program for the last 16 years.

    “”Everything on paper points to the fact that we have all the necessary ingredients to be very successful and a team that will compete in the top 10,”” he added.

    This weekend’s tournament will pit the Wildcats against a strong New Mexico State team that finished the 2007 season ranked No. 21 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 Poll.

    The Wildcats will play two matches against New Mexico State, at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

    “”It’s really an opportunity for the players who are developing to get an opportunity to play in a real match environment without any severe repercussions,”” Rubio said.

    Rubio added that it’s difficult to give some of the younger players a chance to play during the regular season where all teams are competing with their top players. The offseason gives some of those developing players a chance to see what the game-time situations are like.

    “”We had some great seniors (last season), and it’s always a transition when you lose players,”” Buringrud said. “”But I think there is still a lot of talent on this team and most of us have experience playing on the court.

    “”Steve (Walker), our new assistant, has been great for us so far this past week, and I think his energy and knowledge of the game will be a great help for us,”” she added.

    The exhibition will also see the return of redshirt sophomore Whitney Dosty, who sat out the 2007 season while struggling with knee injuries. Dosty, a member of the 2006 Pacific 10

    All-Conference team, tore the medial collateral ligament in her right knee last July. She then had to have surgery on her left knee in October after suffering from patella tendinitis, where the patella tendon had pulled the bone near her knee which, in turn, chipped it.

    “”Right now she’s full speed and practicing and playing without restriction,”” Rubio said. “”Originally, when they did the surgery they didn’t think she was going to be able to play until after the offseason, so we feel fortunate to have her back.””

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