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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Volleyball must rebound from tough weekend

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA loss to California Volleyball at McKale Center Friday, Sep 24
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA loss to California Volleyball at McKale Center Friday, Sep 24

The Arizona volleyball team is at a turning point in its young season.

Coming off of a heartbreaking defeat to California, and an embarrassing three-set sweep at the hands of Stanford, the Wildcats can’t afford a loss to rival ASU on Friday.

“”Next (game) will be just as hard as this week,”” said senior Tiffany Owens.

She’s wrong — it’s going to be harder.

This week, Arizona might be battling the toughest opponent it will face all season – tougher than Stanford, the nation’s No. 1 ranked volleyball team.

“”I don’t even know what to say,”” said Owens after the loss to Stanford. “”I’m a little confused; coach is a little confused about why we played like we did.””

Questions are the last thing the Wildcats need. They need answers, and they need them before it’s too late.

The players have said all of the right things about brushing off what happened last weekend and moving on from it.

“”We just have to come out and play,”” said Paige Weber, a senior setter.

Here’s the problem, it’s just not that easy to do.

Leading up to last weekend, Arizona players were intent on pointing out that the weekend was important not because of who they played but because it was the opening of Pacific 10 Conference play.

That might be true — they may have not cared one iota that they were playing two of the best teams in the country.

But walking away from two crushing losses — one after taking a 2-0 lead, and another in which the Wildcats might have been better off just not showing up for — isn’t an easy thing to do.

In a season with high expectations, one in which Arizona opened the season as the No. 18 team in the country, chances to make a statement to the volleyball world can’t be missed.

This one was. Actually, it was blown.

Instead of taking down a top-10 team in Cal and then having another chance to be competitive against the country’s most dominant team this season, Arizona is now 0-2 in Pac-10 play, and could be in danger of falling further.

Three of the next five conference games are against teams in the AVCA Coaches’ Poll top-12, and another is a rivalry game — and we all know how those can go.

Arizona has another chance this weekend to make a statement: that this team is one with senior leaders — leaders that won’t accept mediocre play at the game’s highest level.

After Friday night’s game, we’re going to have a much better idea of how this season is going to turn out — good or bad.

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