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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Volleyball fails to close at home vs. USC, UCLA”

    UA sophomore outside hitter Brooke Buringrud hits the ball in Arizonas four-set loss to No. 3 UCLA Friday in McKale Center. The Wildcats also lost to No. 4 USC on Saturday, but Buringrud finished the weekend with 29 kills.
    UA sophomore outside hitter Brooke Buringrud hits the ball in Arizona’s four-set loss to No. 3 UCLA Friday in McKale Center. The Wildcats also lost to No. 4 USC on Saturday, but Buringrud finished the weekend with 29 kills.

    They were better, but they just weren’t tough enough.

    The Arizona volleyball team put out a renewed effort this weekend against No. 4 USC and No. 3 UCLA in McKale Center, but the Wildcats still followed the trend of their recent past.

    Arizona lost to the Trojans 30-19, 30-27, 33-31 Saturday and 30-24, 30-23, 20-30, 30-25 to UCLA on Friday, giving the Wildcats (9-8, 0-5 Pacific 10 Conference) their first six-game losing streak since 1995.

    “”We are really improving, and we are getting better each week,”” UA head coach Dave Rubio said. “”Eventually the players are going to need to get mad and gain the confidence in critical parts of the game to say we are going to win this match.””

    Arizona’s last four matches have all seemed to follow the same theme: play a close game, then lose control at the end.

    The pattern continued against the two best teams in the Pac-10.

    Against the Women of Troy (17-0, 6-0), Arizona lost the second game after taking a 26-21 lead and failed to convert a game-point opportunity in the third.

    After easily taking the third game against the Bruins (19-0, 6-0) and going up 24-23 in the fourth, the Wildcats allowed a 7-1 run that sealed the match.

    “”It’s hard to come so close and not get a win,”” said Brooke Buringrud, a sophomore outside hitter. “”On the other side, you can see how much we have improved, and we have definitely learned a lot.””

    Rubio said his team is struggling because it must rely on young players who have never been in crucial situations like the ones Arizona faced this weekend.

    On the other hand, USC reloaded this season with junior outside hitter Asia Kaczor, a member of the Polish national team, who transferred from the College of Southern Idaho before the season.

    “”Some would say that maybe she could even be a professional player who’s played in the top leagues in Europe, which she has played in,”” Rubio said. “”This game is a step down for her in terms of the level she’s played at.””

    He added: “”They get a kid transferring in under very suspicious circumstances. Instead of relying on a freshman or a sophomore who’s never played before, now they’re getting a kid that’s got international experience.””

    Nevertheless, Rubio praised Kaczor, who finished with 10 kills and six digs, as an on-court leader figure his squad could use.

    “”The person that got them out of trouble all the time was their kid from Poland,”” he said. “”Even though she didn’t have a great night, she really made some things happen.””

    While Arizona had success in some areas – Rubio said the team’s defense against UCLA was its best of the season, and Buringrud ended the weekend with 29 kills – the team just couldn’t capitalize on opportunities to win games.

    “”We just struggle to finish a game,”” said Dominique Lamb, a junior middle blocker. “”Don’t know why, don’t know how, we don’t know what happens. We didn’t play our game.

    “”We just didn’t come out and play like we train.””

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