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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


V-ball: ‘Cats ready to host ASU

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA loss to California Volleyball at McKale Center Friday, Sep 24
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA loss to California Volleyball at McKale Center Friday, Sep 24

Tonight the Arizona volleyball team (10-4, 0-2 Pacific 10 Conference) will play host to its neighbors from the north, ASU (5-8, 0-2 Pac-10), to begin the 2010 State Farm Territorial Cup Series at 7 p.m.

Arizona is looking to bounce back from a potentially debilitating weekend in which the Wildcats lost both of their games in the opening weekend of Pac-10 play.

“”We just have to take everything day-to-day and practice hard,”” said freshman libero Emily Helm. “”We just need to look past last weekend and start new.””

Head coach Dave Rubio had a similar take on how to handle last weekend’s losses.

“”Where we are right now, I think we need to maybe regroup and not put much emphasis on last week’s matches,”” Rubio said. “”We need to be better at being able to keep things where they need to be: in the past and not affecting us the next day.””

What to expect from ASU

The Sun Devils are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, but Rubio is impressed with how they have performed in those losses.

“”I think that they’re playing really well and with a lot of confidence,”” Rubio said. “”We’re going to have to play well — it’s not going to be an easy match for either team.””

Strategically, ASU isn’t going to bring anything to the table that Arizona is going to have to be overly concerned about.

“”I think they play a pretty good game of volleyball, pretty basic,”” said senior outside hitter Whitney Dosty. “”(They’ll run) four sets, not anything too much coming at us. I think we’ll be able to handle whatever they bring.””

ASU’s style will be a stark contrast to that of Stanford, Arizona’s last opponent.

Paige Weber credited much of the Cardinal’s success last weekend to the fact that Arizona could never get into the rhythm of the game because of the many sets Stanford ran.

Arizona shakes up serving

Coming off of their first losing weekend of the season, the Wildcats have continued to tweak their serving sets — something that has been a work in progress since day one.

“”We’ve tried changing up some of our serving,”” Dosty continued. “”We’ve changed the depth of it.””

Serving depth is something that Rubio has stressed all year. About two weeks ago, he had his players move back a few feet to force them to get near their goal velocity, which is about 47 mph.

‘Cats focused on Pac-10, not Devils

Even though Arizona is in one of the most bitter rivalries in the Pac-10 tonight, it has been preparing like it’s just another game on the rigorous conference schedule.

“”I tend to not look at those things too closely,”” Rubio said of the rivalry. “”I’m really more concerned about what we’re going to be doing the night of the match.””

Wildcats without Weber?

Senior setter Paige Weber, who hasn’t missed a single set in her career at Arizona, missed the last two days of practice after suffering an ankle injury during Tuesday’s practice.

Weber has led the team in assists in every match so far this season and also leads the team with 17 service aces — an area that the Wildcats have struggled in.

Tori Moore, Weber’s backup, has played in only six sets this season compared to 50 for Weber. She is also averaging 0.83 assists per set compared to Weber’s 11.08.

What to watch for

Arizona’s hitting percentage is easily the most telling stat at this point in the season. When the Wildcats are the team with the higher percentage, they are 10-0. When they are the team with the lower percentage, UA is 0-4.

This is the rubber match in the all-time series with the Sun Devils. The series is currently tied with both teams at 38-38, with Arizona taking the previous matchup — and three of the last four.

Also look for senior Tiffany Owens’ double-doubles. When Owens has double-digit kills and digs, the Wildcats are 4-1 in 2010, with the only loss coming in five sets to No. 8 California.

‘Cats wrap up non-conference schedule

After hosting rival ASU tonight, Arizona will travel to New Mexico State University on Sunday to take on the Aggies.

Arizona defeated NMSU in straight sets in the schools’ meeting earlier this year at the Arizona Invitational by Lodge on the Desert.

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