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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Crisp play a must for volleyball

    Dominique Lamb (10) stuffs a kill attempt in the Arizona volleyball teams annual Red-Blue scrimmage Aug. 19 in McKale Center. The middle blocker Lamb set a new career-high with 12 blocks in a match last weekend.
    Dominique Lamb (10) stuffs a kill attempt in the Arizona volleyball team’s annual Red-Blue scrimmage Aug. 19 in McKale Center. The middle blocker Lamb set a new career-high with 12 blocks in a match last weekend.

    They were close, but horseshoes and hand grenades were not involved.

    After keeping up with No. 5 UCLA and nearly beating No. 4 USC on the road last weekend before losing to both teams, the Arizona volleyball team hosts Oregon State in McKale Center tonight at 7.

    This time, close isn’t close enough.

    “”More than anything, what this last weekend showed is that we’re capable of playing at the highest level,”” said UA head coach Dave Rubio. “”We put ourselves in a position to win some matches, but we haven’t. With a young team like ours all you need is one win against those great teams and then you’re convinced.””

    The Wildcats (10-4, 0-2 Pacific 10 Conference) lost in five games to No. 4 USC on Friday after being up 2-1. The players said they have learned that their intensity needs to stay up for the entire match, regardless of the opponent.

    “”Our coaches always tell us, ‘You haven’t done anything yet,’ “” said middle blocker Dominique Lamb. “” ‘It takes three games to win a match.’ “”

    The Beavers (8-6, 1-1) come in as the underdog, having lost their last 21 matches against the Wildcats.

    It’s not the dominance, however,

    Dom is almost in a league of her own. You have to have some physicalness about you, you have to have technique and you have to have great mentality, and she has all three of those characteristics.

    -Dave Rubio,
    head coach

    that Arizona thinks of. Rather, the team has prepared to play with new confidence after playing so closely with the L.A. schools.

    “”After the USC match, it was kind of emotional because we poured our hearts and souls into that game,”” Lamb said, “”and the outcome just isn’t what we were looking for.

    “”It was a salty weekend because we know if we would have taken care of the little things that we could have come away with two wins. We don’t want that to happen again.””

    Taking care of the little things means fewer errors of all varieties. It also means maintaining the Arizona defense that holds opponents to a .144 hitting percentage and that is second in the nation in blocks (3.62 per game).

    Lamb leads the blocking parade for the Wildcats. After posting a career-high 12 blocks Friday night, she now has 457 career stuffs and needs only 10 more to pass former Wildcat Bre Ladd for third-all time in school history.

    Lamb also has 399 career block assists and needs two to pass Ladd in that category.

    “”Dom may be the best blocker we’ve ever had here, and we’ve had some good blockers,”” Rubio said. “”Dom is almost in a league of her own. You have to have some physicalness about you, you have to have technique and you have to have great mentality, and she has all three of those characteristics.””

    The match may quickly become one of defense, as the Beavers boast 3.11 blocks per game, third most in the Pacific 10 Conference.

    They also average 14.60 kills and 14.89 digs per game, compared to Arizona’s 15.02 and 15.89, respectively.

    As for the losses last weekend, outside hitter Brooke Buringrud said it showed that the Wildcats are close to being one of the top contenders in the Pac-10, if not nationally, and that they are prepared to take on Oregon and all other challengers.

    “”I am really looking forward to the rest of the season, and I think we’re going to surprise some people,”” she said. “”We’re not ranked and we’re placed low in the Pac-10 (eighth), but if anyone watched us play this past weekend or watches us practice, they’ll know those predictions aren’t true.””

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