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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    V-Ball loses first match to Ducks since ’98

    After it won its first Pacific 10 Conference contest of the year Thursday at Oregon State, it appeared as if the Arizona volleyball team’s season might be turning around.

    But the Wildcats (10-9, 1-6 Pac-10) took a turn in the opposite direction Friday at Oregon (14-3, 4-3), as the offensive ability Arizona put on display against the Beavers was nonexistent the following night when the Ducks swept them, 30-24, 30-24, 30-26.

    UA head coach Dave Rubio said his team could not find any sort of offensive rhythm against Oregon, as the Ducks out-swung the Wildcats .283 to .104. Arizona landed 44 kills, but added 30 attacking errors, almost doubling Oregon’s 16.

    “”When you have a differential like that, you are not going to win many matches,”” Rubio said.

    After beating ASU on Thursday, the Ducks posted their first Pac-10 weekend sweep since 1989. Oregon also put an end to Arizona’s 15-match winning streak against them, which dated back to 1998, after ending ASU’s 16-match winning streak against them the night before.

    Freshman outside hitter Whitney Dosty paced Arizona with 13 kills, while sophomore outside hitter Brooke Buringrud added 11. Senior setter Stephanie Butkus finished with a match-high 41 assists.

    Buringrud added 14 digs, and sophomore libero Brittany Leonard had 13.

    Oregon freshman middle blocker Sonja Newcombe led the Ducks in kills and digs with 17 and 14, respectively. She hit at a stunning .444 percentage with only one attack error on the night.

    “”Oregon looked like they played harder than we did, and they hustled more than we did,”” Rubio said. “”It looked like the match meant more to them than it did to us.””

    Rubio said he didn’t know what changed from Thursday to Friday night.

    “”If I did know what happened, I don’t think I would be as disappointed as I am with the matchup on Friday night,”” he said.

    The pattern of play that was present in the three-game sweep against the Ducks followed the same model as some of the Wildcats’ earlier losses in the season.

    The Wildcats were able to keep all three games reasonably close, but Oregon runs eventually led to Arizona’s demise.

    Arizona kept the first game close, but a 6-2 run by the Ducks led to an eventual 30-24 Wildcat loss.

    It was the same story in the second game, as the Wildcats were down 25-23 after posting an 8-4 run, but they ultimately lost again after a late surge by the Ducks.

    The Wildcats had a similar opportunity in the third game to prevent the sweep, down just 26-25, but they fizzled out toward the end yet again.

    Junior middle blocker Dominique Lamb said it was exasperating to come so close to winning every game and then lose the opportunity at the end.

    “”I don’t think anyone we played was too tough, I just think our biggest opponent is ourselves,”” she said. “”We just need to learn how to finish the games, and hopefully that will come sooner than later.””

    The Wildcats have lost numerous opportunities to seal games late, contests that could have put Arizona in a better situation than it’s in now, but Rubio said he is just going to make the best of the rest of the season.

    “”We certainly wanted to have more wins under our belt,”” he said. “”We are just going to look forward and try to win games.””

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