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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


V-ball heads to Washington

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA victory over ASU Friday, Oct 1 at University of Arizona McKale Center
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA victory over ASU Friday, Oct 1 at University of Arizona McKale Center

Relentless is a word that comes to mind when describing Pacific 10 Conference volleyball, and this weekend is no exception for No. 25 Arizona.

The Wildcats (14-6, 3-4 Pac-10) play at No. 7 Washington (15-3, 4-3) tonight, and at Washington State on Saturday. The Wildcats are 5-0 in true road games this season.

“”Washington’s always been a very complete, very steady, very efficient team,”” said head coach Dave Rubio. “”They serve well. They don’t have any weaknesses and tend to never beat themselves. You have to play at the same efficiency level as they do in order to compete.””

Washington has played at a much more efficient level than Arizona to this point in the season, but Rubio sees some similarities between his squad and the Huskies.

“”We have a team like (Washington),”” he continued. “”We’re constantly battling some type of injury, but hopefully we get healthy here in the next couple of weeks. That’ll make a big difference, too.””

Injuries have plagued the Wildcats so far in 2010. Outside hitter Whitney Dosty, Arizona’s second-leading scorer at the time of her injury, hasn’t been at 100 percent in a few weeks while battling a stress fracture in her ankle.

Freshman libero Candace Nicholson is dealing with a wrist issue, and junior middle blocker Kaylen Bannister is still working her way back into volleyball shape after giving birth to her son in August.

All three should be able to play this weekend, but how effective they can be remains to be seen.

Washington will be the sixth team that Arizona has faced ranked in the top 20. The Wildcats are 1-4 in those matches, but three of the four losses have come in five sets.

“”Washington is pretty straightforward — they’re a good team,”” said senior setter Paige Weber. “”They’re good volleyball players. They don’t really have to do anything flashy. They just play the same way that they’ve played since I’ve been here.””

“”You have to understand that they’re a good team with good players, and they’re not going to fold easy,”” Weber added.

Washington will also provide a challenge that Arizona hasn’t seen much of this year: top-spin serving.

“”We’re going to have to come out in our serve-receive and be ready to battle that,”” said junior Courtney Karst. “”Some people think that top-spin is one of the easier serves to pass, but with Washington they’ve always top-spin served, so it’s always a lot harder for us because they serve at a really high velocity.””

Even though Washington State (6-11, 0-7) is winless in Pac-10 play, Rubio knows that going into Pullman isn’t going to be a cakewalk.

“”They’ve got some legit players on their team,”” Rubio said. “”We haven’t beaten them up there in a while. Even though we’ve beaten them down here, it’s just a hard place to play … they do some unorthodox things.””


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