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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Volleyball goes undefeated in 3

    The Arizona volleyball team won all three of its matches at the Regency Suites Classic in Atlanta this weekend.

    As the only undefeated team in the tournament, the Wildcats (7-2) swept Western Carolina (3-7) and host Georgia Tech (4-3) Saturday, and downed Kentucky (9-2) in four games Friday.

    “”This weekend we had the opportunity to show what kind of team we can be,”” UA head coach Dave Rubio said. “”The team really stepped up to the challenge and we had some terrific performances by several of our players.””

    The Wildcats beat Western Carolina by scores of 30-17, 30-19 and 30-24. They hit a season-high .439 and held the Catamounts to .105

    Middle blocker Jacy Norton led the offensive charge with a career-high 13 kills on a .750 hitting percentage. On the weekend, the sophomore had 32 kills in 47 attempts and only two errors, making for a blistering .617 percentage in 10 games.

    Rubio said that Norton’s accomplishments were due to a position change with middle blocker Dominique Lamb.

    In the volleyball system, one middle blocker is next to the setter and the other is two rotations away from the setter. Lamb was placed as the middle blocker next to the setter – which means she gets most of the swings in the front row – and Norton took Lamb’s place in the other middle blocker position.

    “”There are certain physical attributes that you want and Jacy is very good and can score behind the setter,”” Rubio said. “”Dominique is good at that too, but she’s much better in front of the setter. We felt like it was going to be advantageous to make that change to allow them to do what they do best.””

    The change only helped Lamb, too. Her 18 blocks over the three matches put her at 420 for her career and moved into fourth all-time in school history after passing Marisa DaLee, who had 415.

    After breaking down the film of the losses against Pepperdine and St. Mary’s, Rubio said it made sense to adjust players’ positions.

    Rubio used Alanna Resch at the libero position and liberos Katie Jackels and Brittany Leonard as left-side hitters.

    “”That really increased our side-out percentage,”” he said. “”As a result, the opposing teams didn’t have many runs against us.””

    The Wildcats kicked off Saturday with a 30-27, 30-13, 30-15 sweep over Georgia Tech. They hit .400 and held the Yellow Jackets to a .070 hitting percentage.

    Norton posted eight kills on a .727 hitting percentage and outside hitter Tiffany Owens registered 10 of her 32 kills in the match.

    “”I felt like it was somewhat of a coming out party for Tiffany Owens,”” Rubio said. “”The last couple of weeks, she’s struggled and this weekend she started playing with confidence and hitting the ball with a greater velocity and had a mindset of scoring. She had a really good set of matches.””

    Arizona opened the tournament with a close, four-game win over Kentucky by scores of 31-29, 30-23, 26-30, and 32-30.

    Arizona hit .216, but held Kentucky to a .154 hitting percentage, over 100 percentage points below UK’s season average.

    Five Arizona players posted double-digits in kills during the match. Opposite hitter Randy Goodenough led the way with 17 kills and 11 digs. Outside hitter Brooke Buringrud finished with 15 kills and Owens posted 13.

    “”The first match that we played against Kentucky was very tough and it could have gone either way,”” Rubio said, “”but we were able to play well at the right moments and we were able to pull out a win against a good team.

    “”A lot of our players really stepped up this weekend,”” Rubio added. “”We made some changes that worked our in our favor.””

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