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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona falls to No. 2 California

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Arizona Womens Volleyball vs Stanford at McKale Center on Friday, October 21 2011

Only a week ago, head coach Dave Rubio had never been so proud of his team, but on Saturday that delight turned into disaster.

“Last Saturday, seven days ago, I was as proud as I’ve been with their effort in dealing with the adversity of the circumstances that came with playing Utah,” Rubio said. “Seven days later, I’ve never been so disappointed with our group since the season started.”

Rubio used other adjectives — terrible, appalling, poor, disappointing and frustrating — to describe Arizona’s (13-7, 5-7) loss to No. 2 California 3-0, (27-25, 25-23, 27-25). Even though the scores were close, the night evoked bad memories for the head coach.

“I haven’t felt this badly about how we played since we played Eastern Washington, when I felt like I was in the dentist chair,” Rubio said. “We couldn’t tie our shoes right tonight.”

The Wildcats also struggled the night prior, when they lost to No. 5 Stanford 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 22-25, 25-17).

“Last night, we saw some signs of that, when we just kind of give-up on each other, and we kind of rally back and play hard,” Rubio said Saturday. “But tonight, it was just appalling. I was so frustrated and disappointed.”

His disappointment stemmed from a few different reasons, one being his team’s failure to take advantage of California missing two of its starters. Freshman Madison Kingdon, who was expected to be out, suited up after not playing in the last two matches because of an ankle sprain.

“It was terrible volleyball on both sides,” Rubio said. “We were digging balls th at were 15 feet out of bounds, we were serving balls that are out of bounds, we were making mistakes that we typically never make, passing balls over the net. Even when we were up, it wasn’t good volleyball — Cal was terrible. Our team right now is really fragmented. Tonight the opponent wasn’t Cal, it was us.

“If we can’t get that sorted through, then we aren’t going to make the tournament.”

Had the Wildcats defeated either the Cardinal or the Golden Bears, they would have secured their spot in this year’s NCAA tournament — another reason for Rubio’s disappointment.

“It’s unfortunate, because that would have punched our ticket to the NCAA’s for sure,” he said. “We win that game and we got two major wins, our RPI is good and it seals our fate. Cal was ready to be beat.”

Player Perspectives

California may have had two missing starters, but the Wildcats weren’t in top shape either.

Kingdon played on a sprained ankle, fellow freshman Maddie Lozano played with a broken finger, sophomore Candace Nicholson had food poisoning before the weekend and tweaked her leg against the Cardinal. There was also a concussion scare on Thursday when senior Courtney Karst took a hard ball to the head.

Some highlights of the match included freshman Taylor Arizobal having a career-high of seven blocks, Karst leading the team with 10 kills, and freshman Chloe Mathis getting her second double-double of the season with 29 assists and 10 digs.

“Sometimes you can play your best volleyball and win, and other times you can just have a bad night,” Mathis said. “And I think this weekend, we weren’t connecting, our chemistry was a little off. My personal favorite games are the games that we lose, because you learn the most in those games.”

Senior captain Cursty Jackson seconded Rubio’s opinion of the match.

“We did not play as a team at all,” Jackson said. “Their (Cal) libero was out, their opposite was out, and we couldn’t take advantage of that. This game was really important and we didn’t come through. Last night it was the same thing; we weren’t consistent enough. Both teams were beatable, and we just couldn’t get it together in time.”

Friday’s highlights included Karst’s 14 kills, Nicholson’s 17 digs and freshman Rachel Rhoades’ five blocks for the Wildcats.

Mathis also made 44 assists for the team and Jackson had 12 kills.

Going into practice this week, roles need to be reestablished and confidence needs to be regained, Jackson said.

“The biggest thing for us right now is just finding a flow, and being consistent — everyone just knowing their job and trying to perform it as best as they can,” Jackson said. “Tonight we didn’t get outplayed. We beat ourselves.”

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