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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Wildcats and Cougars in similar situation entering tonight’s game

    Sophomore outside hitter Randy Goodenough gets ready to swing during Arizonas 3-1 loss to ASU on Sept. 22. The Wildcats and Washington State, who have each won only one Pacific 10 Conference game, play tonight at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.
    Sophomore outside hitter Randy Goodenough gets ready to swing during Arizona’s 3-1 loss to ASU on Sept. 22. The Wildcats and Washington State, who have each won only one Pacific 10 Conference game, play tonight at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.

    During a critical point in the Arizona volleyball team’s season, the Wildcats will face off against a Washington State team in a similar position with one goal in mind: win.

    The two teams have struggled early on in Pacific 10 Conference play, each dropping seven of their last eight contests, entering tonight’s 7 p.m. contest in McKale Center.

    Arizona (10-9, 1-6) and WSU (13-8, 1-6) are tied for second-to-last in the Pac-10, with both teams’ lone conference victories coming against Oregon State, who sits in last place.

    UA head coach Dave Rubio said the similarities between the two teams are uncanny.

    “”They are a lot like we are,”” he said. “”They have a young cast that are basically kids who don’t have much Pac-10-level experience. I think both teams are pretty balanced. They are in the same kind of building process that we are in.””

    With both squads in the basement of the conference standings, Rubio said it is an important game to win.

    “”Every opportunity that we have to try to get a win is important,”” he said. “”This weekend certainly provides an opportunity to pick up a win.””

    But Arizona has some hurdles it must overcome before the game in order to be successful.

    After an abysmal performance offensively last week against Oregon, Rubio said it is crucial to the game plan to cut down on attacking errors.

    The Wildcats are hitting a .180 on the season, while the Cougars have posted a .233 hitting percentage.

    “”We are having a tough time scoring,”” Rubio said. “”We are making too many unforced errors. We are beating ourselves a lot.

    “”Right now it seems like we are not only playing the other team, but we are fighting against ourselves sometimes, too. When we make as many attacking errors as we have in the past, it makes it really tough to develop any sort of offensive rhythm.””

    And the players also realize that keeping their hitting errors to a minimum is vital to the team’s success.

    Like Rubio, freshman middle blocker Jacy Norton also said it is imperative that the team keeps the ball in play.

    “”We have been working a lot in practice on lowering our hitting errors,”” she said. “”If you eliminate our hitting errors, we win all the games that have been close so far.””

    Although Arizona has had trouble on offense as of late, the Wildcats are keeping it close.

    They have shown resiliency on defense, as they are first in the Pac-10 in blocks (3.36).

    Freshman outside hitter Whitney Dosty said she was impressed with the toughness of the defense and its will to fight.

    “”Our defense has been playing tough,”” she said. “”As long as we improve on offense, I think we will be in good shape.””

    Though the Wildcats have hit a tough stretch of games, confidence is something they never lack.

    Dosty and Norton both said they like Arizona’s chances this weekend.

    “”I don’t know much about Washington State right now, but if they are anything like the last two teams we have played, I think we have a very good chance of beating them,”” Dosty said.

    But with confidence or not, the win is still the most important thing.

    When Rubio was asked what his game plan was for this weekend he replied, “”Win baby, just win.””

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