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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Volleyball off to Santa Clara

Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Alan Walsh
Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat

No. 25 Arizona volleyball takes its perfect season on the road to Santa Clara, Calif., in a mid-week battle at the Santa Clara Invitational.

The Wildcats (6-0) will first face the host Santa Clara Broncos (4-2) in a 7 p.m. match today before taking on the Utah Utes (5-2) at the same time Friday.

Although both teams made the NCAA tournament last year, they have tripped up early this season. After losing their first two matches of the year, the Broncos dropped out of the AVCA Coaches Poll; they had been slated at No. 25.

The Utes, who were picked to win the Mountain West Conference in 2009, are also out of the poll after falling victim to Utah Valley and Washington State.

Arizona hit the gym to work on effort and efficiency after a weekend of lackadaisical play.

“”Going on the road again, we’re excited,”” said defensive specialist Alanna Resch. “”We know what we have to do this weekend and we’re anxious to get it done.””

Although both opposing teams have losses this season, the level of play that Arizona will face in the Bay Area is certainly higher than what they saw in the Wildcat Classic.

Head coach Dave Rubio is interested to see how his team will react in another difficult environment, similar to their first tournament in Louisville.

“”I fully expected that we’ll be well-prepared both physically and emotionally for the match,”” Rubio said. “”It should be good to see how we react and respond against another good team on the road. I’m looking forward to seeing how we perform in that type of environment.””

Arizona is also hoping to avoid repeating history. The Broncos gave the Wildcats their first loss of the season in 2008. They have met eight times, splitting the matches at four apiece.

The Wildcats have not faced Utah since the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2005, when Arizona defeated the Utes in four games.

“”We’re excited to play at a high level and see what we can do against them,”” Resch said. “”It’s going to be a challenge and a test for us to see if we can do the things we’ve been working on.””

This is the last road trip Arizona will take before the start of Pacific 10 Conference play. In terms of environment, this will be the toughest challenge on the road for the Wildcats until they play at ASU, California and Stanford in October.

The plan for Arizona this season was to prepare them for the start of Pac-10 play. Including Arizona, seven Pac-10 teams have officially made the top-25 cut.

Rubio talked about the reasons for evaluating his team’s play both on the road and overall.

“”We could use all the practice we can get,”” he said.

Extra serving:

The next win for Arizona will be head coach Dave Rubio’s 450th career win in 23 years of coaching. His record as head coach of Arizona volleyball stands at 327-189 in 18 years in Tucson.

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