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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball heads to Nebraska to face Missouri in first round of NCAA Tournament

Claudio Cerrillo
Kendra Dahlke (8) delivers a fierce hit to the ball. Arizona beat Utah 3-1 on October 21st.

The No. 23 Arizona volleyball team heads to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the past six years after completing the 2018 regular season with a 22-10 overall record.

The Wildcats will begin their road to the finals in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Friday, Nov. 30 at 3:30 p.m. MST against the Missouri Tigers.

Under head coach Dave Rubio, the Wildcats have made it to the NCAA Tournament a total of 20 times in his 29 years at Arizona.

In 2017, the Cats did not earn a ticket to the NCAA Tournament with an 11-18 overall record and 5-15 conference recordthe Wildcats fell short of the postseason after making it to the Sweet 16 the year before in 2016.

Under Rubio’s reign, Arizona has been to seven Sweet 16s, four Elite Eights and one Final Four.

“It’s always exciting when you’re an at-large team and you don’t know where you’re going to go or who you’re going to play against,” said Rubio. “It’s exciting for us to see that we were selected, and we will play Missouri at the at-large regional.”

At the end of the 2018 regular season, Arizona (22-10) had an 11-9 conference record, for a fifth-place finish in the Pac-12 conference.

Should Arizona be worried for Friday’s match?

Arizona’s first round competition, Missouri, currently sits at a 23-7 overall record and 13-5 overall record.

The Tigers have had some impressive wins this season, including a 3-0 sweep against No. 25 Alabama, a 3-2 victory over No. 11 Florida and a 3-2 victory over LSU.

Arizona’s competition this Friday will certainly not be an easy victory for the ‘Cats. However, if Arizona’s lineup returns to a healthy state by Friday, the Cats will be in great shape against the Tigers.

With spotlight players like Paige Whipple, Julia Patterson and Kendra Dahlke, Arizona should be able to come out on top against Missouri and head into the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Friday’s game will be a test for Arizona to see if their 22-10 season record can carry over to more crucial games.

Follow Amit Syal on Twitter

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