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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona volleyball debuts in Hawaii

The Arizona volleyball team has its season opener today at the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational in Honolulu, where it will compete in a total of three matches through Sunday.

First, the Wildcats will take on the Wichita State Shockers, who went 21-8 last year, earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament. They return this season with four starters and nine letter winners.

“Wichita … is most likely going to be a top-25 team,” head coach Dave Rubio said. “They’re returning almost every single starter, who were all very good.”

On Saturday, Arizona will play the University of San Francisco Dons. Similar to the Shockers, the Dons have a solid returning group consisting of five starters and eight letter winners. USF may have fewer accolades overall, but the Dons don’t fall short in the height department with eight players standing 6-foot or taller.

And on the final day of competition, Arizona will take on the University of Hawaii Warriors, who Rubio says will be their toughest opponent.

“Hawaii, I think, will be on paper the strongest competition we have,” Rubio said. “Hawaii will be a top-10, if not a top-five team this season.”

The Warriors return five starters, including two who were American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Americans last year.

After sizing up the Wildcats’ competition this weekend, their own potential setbacks are their youth and smaller height average.

Hawaii also has a shorter team, but they have more returning starters than Arizona’s three.

“Being the opening matches of the year, there are so many unpredictable things, I’m not sure what to expect from the new players that are going to be out there,” Rubio said. “You have a brand new system, so it should be interesting to see how it unfolds.”

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