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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    A whole new game for Arizona volleyball

    The Arizona volleyball team’s intrasquad scrimmage in McKale Center on Saturday gave the Wildcats an opportunity to get the final kinks out before regular season play begins this week with some new rules and surroundings.

    About 100 spectators watched as the team – split into the Red Team and the Blue Team – played for the first time with the new $650,000 navy curtain hanging around McKale, giving the arena a snug feel by cutting off seats in the upper level. Six new players also made their debuts in Wildcat uniforms, and UA head coach Dave Rubio was able to get an idea as to who might play in which positions when the season kicks off Friday with a home match against Weber State.

    “”It answered some questions for us,”” Rubio said. “”(But) what we start with next week doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be that way throughout the year.””

    Though some players switched teams during the match, the Blue Team, composed of mostly starters, won all five sets, 25-14, 25-21, 25-20, 25-18 and 16-14.

    The NCAA changed the rules this year so each game is called a set and the first team to 25 points, rather than 30, wins. The final set still goes to 15 and a team must win a set by two points.

    The Red Team showed character at the end of the match, which is usually played in a best-of-five-set format. Down 14-11, they scored three straight points to tie it up, only to have the Blue Team come back with two points to end it all.

    Sophomore outside hitter Tiffany Owens, who hit .202 last season, had a team-high 20 kills – racking up 19 on a .469 hitting percentage with the Blue Team.

    “”Tiffany Owens is in a league of her own,”” Rubio said.

    Rubio said he liked what he saw from the returning players but is dissatisfied with the number of errors that were made. There were 23 service errors and 40 attacking errors between the two squads.

    Junior outside hitter Whitney Dosty, who redshirted last season because of knee problems, was responsible for four service errors but made up for it on the attack. She swatted down 16 kills in 38 attempts, playing all five sets for the Blue Team.

    Last fall the Wildcats were without the numbers Dosty put up her freshman season when she averaged 3.39 kills per game and was placed on the All-Pacific 10 Conference Team.

    “”I though Whitney played terrific,”” Rubio said. “”Really solid all-around game.””

    However, the team wasn’t 100 percent healthy. Junior middle blocker Jacy Norton sat the scrimmage out with a sore shoulder, but should be ready for the start of the season, Rubio said.

    Senior opposite hitter Randy Goodenough had five kills and seven digs while “”nursing her back,”” Rubio added.

    There were some arguments for a few position battles on the court, especially at the libero spot between junior Alanna Resch – who was moved from outside hitter to libero early last season – and senior Brittany Leonard, Rubio said.

    “”I think those two will probably be trading off throughout the year,”” Rubio said.

    Extra Serving

    UA men’s basketball head coach Lute Olson made a brief appearance on the court to check out the scrimmage after a meeting with his team in the locker room.

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