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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


‘Cats set to host first tournament of year

Michael Ignatov
Michael Ignatov / Arizona Daily Wildcat University of Arizona Volleyball team meets Tulane in an NCAA women’s volleyball match at McKale Center, Tucson, Ariz., September 19, 2009. Arizona went on to sweep Tulane 3-0.

After going 2-1 in the Shamrock Invitational hosted by Notre Dame last weekend, the Arizona volleyball team returns to the Old Pueblo with a chance to defend its home court against Butler, Louisville, and Cal State-Bakersfield this weekend.

“”Every weekend is going to pose different challenges as you move into playing different teams with different players and new strategies,”” said senior setter Paige Weber. “”All we can do is take what we learned from last weekend and add upon it in practice and make adjustments during the game.””

A key difference in this weekend’s tournament from the Shamrock Invitational is the amount of scouting a team can do — before last weekend, the Wildcats had very little idea what their opponents would bring to the table.

“”The first match — anything can happen,”” continued Weber. “”There’s no scouting report, no information on the other team. Likewise, they have none of us, but it’s one of those things where crazy things can happen early in the season.””

After dropping the opening match of the season to Cal Poly in five sets, head coach Dave Rubio is making sure his team stays in an aggressive mindset.

“”We didn’t compete very well — when they started to push a little we didn’t push back,”” said Rubio before Tuesday’s practice. “”That exposed some things that we need to do fundamentally and things that we need to get better at.””

Rubio is also excited to see how his Wildcats match up against what he feels is one of the better teams in the nation.

“”Louisville is a terrific team, they’re big — they’re huge,”” he said. “”A lot of form players and experience on their team. It’s going to be a real challenge.””

Although Louisville is the only program from a BCS conference making the trek to Tucson this weekend, the other two attendees each provide a challenge of their own.

“”Butler is a nice, solid team and Cal State-Bakersfield is somewhat rebuilding from the last couple of years,”” Rubio continued. “”I think again that it’s a nice opportunity for us to play against a real good team and then see if we can play steady and maintain our level of play as we take on Butler and Cal State Bakersfield.””

Last weekend’s tournament also provided something that practice can’t — experience for three of UA’s four freshmen.

“”You can’t let things get through you, and (I learned) you have to play the hardest you can play all the time,”” said freshman middle blocker Madeline Lozano. “”This is way more intense than what I experienced in high school.””

The Wildcats open the tournament today against Butler at 10:30 a.m. and Louisville at 7 p.m., and will wrap up with Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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