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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


V-ball seeks sharper performance

Keith Hickman-Perfetti
The University of Arizona’s Women’s Volleyball Team plays Eastern Washington at the McKale Center in Tucson Ariz., on Sept. 3, 2011. The UA team won 3-0. Keith Hickman-Perfetti / Arizona Daily WIldcat

The Arizona volleyball team dives into the unknown this weekend, taking on three teams it has never played before at the Evansville Dunn Hospitality Invitational in Evansville, Ind..

The Wildcats start tournament play today against the University of Illinois Chicago Flames. Both teams currently have 5-1 records. On Saturday, Arizona will play two matches in one day, starting with the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks, who are currently struggling with a 2-5 record.

The team’s final competitor will be the University of Evansville Purple Aces, who have a record of 7-2.

Last week, the Wildcats swept their home invitational but didn’t play to head coach Dave Rubio’s standards.

“Simple effort level is a good place to start,” Rubio said after the Eastern Washington University match last Saturday. “Execution tends to follow effort level, and we simply weren’t executing, providing enough energy, talking enough or moving fast enough.”

The Wildcats’ play was surprising to Rubio because they hadn’t shown any of those deficiencies in practice.

“Our practices have never been that bad,” Rubio said.

Junior setter Tori Moore said that since last weekend, practices have been going well, making the team optimistic for a rebound in Indiana.

“We had a great three days of practice, so it would be good to see us carry that over into the matches this weekend,” Moore said. “We need to stay consistent for all three matches, and throughout each entire match, and try to eliminate any kinds of ups and downs.”

Rubio has alluded to running a 6-2 offense — with two setters on the court — instead of the team’s current 5-1.

“We are experimenting with a new offense,” Moore said. “The goal is to continue to put ourselves in a position where we look closer and closer to what we want to play like in conference matches.”

The imminent conference play was also weighing on Rubio’s mind last week. Arizona debuts in the Pac-12 next week, and he said these non-conference matches are equally important, if not more.

“It puts our playoff hopes in jeopardy, even this early in the season,” he said.

“Nonconference wins and losses are a bigger deal in terms of being chosen to the NCAA (tournament) versus conference wins. Nonconference counts and it matters.”

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