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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


A preview UA volleyball trip to Hawaii

Zi Yang Lai
Arizona volleyball outside hitter Kendra Dahlke (8) spikes the ball against Savannah State on Sept. 19, 2015 in McKale Center.

The Arizona women’s volleyball team kick’s off their 2016-2017 season by heading to Honolulu, Hawaii for the Rainbow Wahine Invitational.

The invitational is a three-match tournament where the wildcats will face Kansas State, Wisconsin and Hawaii.

Led by head coach David Rubio, Arizona starts the three-day tournament on Aug. 26 at 7:45 p.m. against Kansas State. They go on to face Wisconsin on Aug. 27 at 7:45 p.m. and Hawaii on Aug. 28 at 8:00 p.m.

The team’s first opponent is the unranked Kansas State Wildcats who were knocked out in the first round of the NCAA tournament by Wichita St. last year, Arizona was also knocked out of the first round by Western Kentucky.

The matchup get tougher after the first day, with Wisconsin, ranked at No. 4, on Saturday and Hawaii, ranked at No. 6, on Sunday.

Wisconsin made it to the Sweet 16 last year and has all but one returning player. They are led by seniors Lauren Carlini and Haleigh Nelson. They are the highest ranked team at this tournament and a formidable opponent for Arizona.

Following the Wisconsin game, Arizona will have to prepare for an equally impressive opponent. Hawaii lost in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament last year, but, like Wisconsin, have a deep returning group that is competitive.

Opening the season against No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 6 Hawaii, who has home court advantage, should help gage the talent of the unranked Wildcats.

Seniors Penina Snuka, Laura Larson and Kalei Mau look to lead the team to success in their final seasons as Wildcats. In their college careers, the seniors have been to three NCAA Tournaments, but never made it past the second round.

With senior leadership, Arizona has the experience needed to compete with their highly ranked opponents in the first tournament of the year.

Follow Nikki Baim on Twitter.

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