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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball on steep climb to relevancy

Colin Prenger
Colin Prenger / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA volleyball vs Washington

The Arizona volleyball team didn’t expect this season to be easy, as the Wildcats have 10 newcomers, seven of which are freshmen.

Recently, the climb back to relevancy has been steep.

“We’ve got a ways to go. It’s going to be an up and down year and I knew that going in,” head coach Dave Rubio said. “You always hope that things aren’t going to be as difficult as they might be, but it always seems to turn out that way.”

Seven weeks into the season, the Wildcats are 9-6 (1-3 Pac-12) after starting the season 9-3.

Rubio admitted that only one week out of the past seven has been a consistently good week of practice. After pushing his team to compensate for lack of experience, the team’s progress has slowed significantly. The Wildcats took a third consecutive loss last weekend.

“Any coach would be really frustrated with some of those errors,” sophomore outside hitter Taylor Arizobal said. “Especially because he pushes us to work so hard during practice.”

Arizona came into conference play with four consecutive sweeps at home and a 3-1 win over Arizona State to open the Pac-12 season.

Although Arizona has won at least one set in each of the last three matches, the team has not defeated a Pac-12 team since the Arizona State match.

“Talent’s only going to get you so far. In this conference everyone’s loaded with talent,” Rubio said. “It’s going to come down to your ability to execute. The only way to execute under the gun is when you’re doing it in practice every day.”

Preventing three back-to-back sweeps was a good start, but being in the position to win and not being able to finish the match out has been progressively more problematic for the Wildcats with each loss.

“I just think for us, since we’re not a big team, we have to be more technical than anything and be ready to play,” junior libero Candace Nicholson said. “Once second round of Pac-12 play comes around, everyone will be more ready.”

The problem is there is no concrete solution to implement. The learning curve can only be accelerated so much.

“Everyone’s pretty frustrated. Everyone’s pretty disappointed,” Rubio said. “The only thing that’s really the cure is to be able to get back into practice and start practicing at a level that I think warrants to being a part of this conference and put ourselves in a position to beat those teams.”

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