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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball sophomore trying to return from concussion in time for regular season

Keith Hickman-Perfetti
Keith Hickman-Perfetti / Arizona Daily WIldcat Rachel Rhoades, No. 8, and the University of Arizona’s Women’s Volleyball Team plays Eastern Washington at the McKale Center in Tucson Ariz., on Sept. 3, 2011.

Arizona volleyball is just one day away from their first season game against Evansville in the Wildcat Classic, but on Wednesday it was unclear if sophomore middle blocker Rachel Rhoades would be available.

A concussion sustained in the first week of practices sidelined Rhoades for the Red-Blue Scrimmage, and now she is working to make a quick recovery in time for the season.

Rhoades said she is hoping to take a concussion test Friday morning in time to pass and practice for the tournament on Saturday.

“Not being able to be back yet is the frustrating part,” Rhoades said. “This is my first real injury and I am just anxious to get back out there and help my team.”

With just six players returning to the roster this season the presence of Rhoades is likely to make a difference in improving the lack of consistency head coach Dave Rubio said needs to be addressed.

While Rhoades has been in the process of recovering from the concussion, freshman Halli Amaro has been taking over the middle blocker position in her absence. Amaro, who hails from Los Alamitos, Calif., impressed at the scrimmage on Aug. 18.

“On the court we’re really getting along well, the older girls have been so helpful,” Amaro said.

Rubio doesn’t consider the prospect of giving too many freshman significant playing time the best possible scenario, but with so few returning players on the roster, getting the young girls playing experience is beneficial.

“Ideally, we don’t usually look to put an incoming player on the court right away,” Rubio said, “But right now our roster needs our younger girls to step up as a couple of them start to see the court.”

Rhoades is the only returning middle blocker, and the most experienced. She along with sophomore outside hitter Madi Kingdon have emerged as clear leaders on the court.

“Rachel is a critical part of the team and we’re just ready to have her back at middle so she can help run our offense,” Kingdon said.

Coach Rubio said that the offense will only be effective once the freshman are able to shed those pregame jitters and that the offense needs to become more consistent.

“It’s been a long time since I have had to work with a team so young but you can only push that so much,” Rubio said. “I’ve done it before, it’s just been a while so we just need to be patient and be realistic about where we are.”

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