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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Frosh ‘T.O.’ gets lethal

    Arizona outside hitter Tiffany Owens leaps up for one of her 17 kills in a 3-2 loss to No. 9 California in McKale Center on Oct. 19. The freshman
    Arizona outside hitter Tiffany Owens leaps up for one of her 17 kills in a 3-2 loss to No. 9 California in McKale Center on Oct. 19. The freshman

    Early last week, Arizona volleyball player Tiffany Owens was walking down the corridor of McKale Center after practice when she was complimented on her career-best 17-kill performance against No. 9 California on Oct. 19.

    “”I’m gonna get 20 next match,”” she said.

    “”Get 22,”” chimed in assistant coach Chris Gonzalez.

    Owens answered back with 25 kills two matches later at Oregon State in a five-game loss Friday. The loss was the Wildcats’ sixth in a row, a streak that they look to snap tonight at 7 in McKale Center against No. 4 Washington (20-1, 9-1 Pacific 10 Conference).

    “”Tiffany is doing terrific,”” said UA head coach Dave Rubio. “”We couldn’t ask more of her.

    “”And really, I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls,”” he added. “”They’re continuing to work hard and stay focused. It’s about the kids stepping up and really playing, and if they do that, then we’re going to get a few Ws.””

    Owens is a prime example of improvement for the Wildcats (12-11, 2-9) that is hidden beneath the shadow of the losing skid. “”T.O.,”” as her teammates call her, averages 3.04 kills per game, including 4.31 in the last four matches.

    The freshman has posted double figures in kills 13 times this season.

    “”I feel that I’m improving a lot as the matches go by,”” Owens said. “”Every match, I feel more confident.””

    With sophomore Whitney Dosty redshirting because of knee problems, Alanna Resch switching to libero from outside hitter in the beginning of the season and Brook Buringrud still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, Owens is carrying a large burden for a first-year player.

    She said she seeks advice about being a college athlete from
    team elders.

    “”Since I’m a freshman, I am under their wing, and (the upperclassmen) have helped me a lot,”” Owens said. “”I’m just learning more and more. Dave has been helping me a lot, and Chris has been helping me with my attacking.””

    Owens’ style of play has reminded Rubio and some players on the team of former Wildcats Jennifer Abernathy and Kim Glass, who was recently selected to the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team roster for the FIVB World Cup held Nov. 2-16 in Japan.

    “”I’ve always known she was good,”” said defensive specialist Katie Jackels of Owens. “”At the beginning of the season, I was like, ‘She’s good and she’s just a freshman.’ She’s really, really impressed me.””

    Owens squares off tonight with outside hitter Stevie Mussie on the other side of the net. The senior Mussie leads the Huskies with 4.40 kills per game, boosting the team’s hitting to .304, second in the conference.

    No matter who the Wildcats play, they need to remain consistent and in good spirits, Rubio said.

    “”We’re not in a position to feel sorry for ourselves,”” he said. “”You never know when it’s going to turn and things get better, and we’re hoping that comes before the season ends. The focus is on getting better.””

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