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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Sun Devils volleyball visits UA

    The Pacific 10 Conference will have its first Duel in the Desert this season as the Sun Devils (10-5) will attempt to take down the No. 25 Wildcats (11-2) in McKale Center tonight at 7.

    But the players said that wouldn’t be on the agenda.

    “”I’m so ready to just destroy them,”” said UA sophomore Paige Weber. “”I’m so pumped. We definitely want to have a big crowd out there, too.””

    Weber, the squad’s starting setter, is fifth in the Pac-10 and leads the team in assists with 471 in 13 matches. She’s third in the league in aces per serve at .40, and she’s already racked up two tournament MVP titles thus far in the season.

    The Wildcats have played ASU 72 times – more times than any other two schools in the nation have squared off. Though the Sun Devils have the upper hand on paper with a 37-35 record, the Wildcats are ready to chalk up one more win for themselves.

    Last year, Arizona lost both of its matches to ASU, but every point was fought to the end.

    “”Every play had so much energy packed into it,”” Weber said. “”Everyone was going up and swinging for the fences and trying to show off. It was really intense; the feel was like, ‘Anything you can do, I can do better.'””

    Arizona is fired up to redeem itself from both of last year’s losses to its in-state rival, and it’s only going to get hotter when the Sun Devils show up to the battle royale in McKale Center.

    “”I think that the inner-state rivalry is always alive and healthy,”” said head coach David Rubio. “”I’m sure ASU is going to have confidence when they play us, but I don’t play into any of that. We just need to work on our side of the net.””

    Rubio said ASU runs a similar system to No. 9 Washington, to which Arizona recently lost 3-2. So in a sense, the squad didn’t have to go over a lot of new information, from a systemic standpoint.

    “”In general, (ASU is) a good team,”” Rubio said. “”It’s going to be a battle. I have no doubt that it’s going to come down to the wire in each game.””

    Rubio said the hype of the match is great, but he and ASU head coach Jason Watson will be ready to focus on their teams’ performances, regardless of who’s on the other side.

    Rubio also said he understands the excitement the fans and players feel during the course of the game, but this match will be no different to him than any other.

    “”There’s always something more special when you beat your rival school,”” Rubio said. “”For me, I want to beat them just as much as I’d want to beat other conference schools – no more, no less.””

    It’s going to come down to which team wants it more, and the Wildcats will undoubtedly bring their A-game – claws and all.

    “”I think we all are ready to go out and show them, and everyone, that we’re not messing around anymore,”” Weber said. “”We’re coming back.””

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