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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Volleyball makes adjustments for conference play

    UA libero Brittany Leonard sets herself for a dig in a Sept. 8 practice in McKale Center. The Wildcats kick off Pacific 10 Conference play against both Washington schools this weekend.
    UA libero Brittany Leonard sets herself for a dig in a Sept. 8 practice in McKale Center. The Wildcats kick off Pacific 10 Conference play against both Washington schools this weekend.

    Ten-and-one is a comfortable record to have at the start of any team’s season, but with the Pacific 10 Conference sneering just around the corner, the Arizona volleyball team may have to make a few adjustments in practice.

    The Wildcats aren’t trembling by any means, but they recognize the level of competition they’ve seen on the court up to this point may not have been equal to that of Washington State or Washington.

    UA head coach Dave Rubio said there are a few things the Washington teams will throw at Arizona that it hasn’t seen so far this season. As a result, the squad will tune-up some areas in practice.

    “”I think Washington State runs a pretty fast (offense) – they run a slide-two combination in the middle,”” said Rubio, referring to a play where the middle blocker goes behind the setter while the opposite hitter crosses over to the front of the setter.

    “”And I think four of (Washington’s) six servers are all jump-top-spin servers. So they can bring some heat, they can hit it hard and they can move it around.””

    Rubio also said Washington commits very few errors.

    “”The difficult thing about the conference is you’re playing back-to-back,”” Rubio said. “”So you really can’t focus on the second team versus the first team. You have to take care of business the first night, then hopefully have enough time to try to prepare for the next match the following night.””

    It is easy to study the habits of one subject matter – a particular team in this case – before the game. It’s like studying for one exam in physics (WSU), then studying for another one in calculus (UW) the following day – except you can only worry about the second exam once the first is completed.

    You might just fail.

    But if you do, the reverberations hit you Monday morning when your coaches – the acting teachers – make you pay for it and study for next week’s exam simultaneously.

    “”But the playing field is level for both teams in that sense,”” the head coach added.

    The Wildcats will do a lot of things in preparation for their weekend – some of it may sound a little goofy to some, but helpful to those who are visual learners.

    “”Our managers start wearing different jerseys and doing the hitting tendencies for the girls we will be playing,”” said junior Alanna Resch. “”But I think that practices are still going to be the same. We’re still going to do a lot of scrimmaging and competition.””

    The team will start scouting its competitors today or Thursday, but the coaches had the areas of focus planned out before the week started, if not prior to that.

    “”In practice, we’ll try to serve the ball as hard as we can with our jump-top-spin servers – the managers can provide that look that can help us,”” Rubio said. “”The blocking is pretty standard, so we’ll be able to get that in and make some of those adjustments. It’s really a continuation of what we’ve been doing, we just have to continue to get better in the errors that really effect the game.””

    Serving and passing is without a doubt on Resch’s mind, but a more personal focus will be on the mental side of the game.

    “”Personally, I’ll probably continue to work on my mental habits mostly,”” the libero said. “”When you’re on the court in Pac-10s, you don’t have time to get into yourself just because it’s so hard. You don’t have time to check out – otherwise you’ll lose really quick.””

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