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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Conference play set to begin for football and volleyball

Arizona+middle+blocker+Mckenzie+Jacobson+%2818%29+and+outside+hitter+Kendra+Dahlke+%288%29+attempt+to+block+a+shot+from+Alabama+State+right+side+hitter+Tamara+Martin+%2813%29+during+Arizonas+3-0+win+against+Alabama+State+in+McKale+Center+on+Friday%2C+Sept.+2%2C+2016.
Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildca
Arizona middle blocker Mckenzie Jacobson (18) and outside hitter Kendra Dahlke (8) attempt to block a shot from Alabama State right side hitter Tamara Martin (13) during Arizona’s 3-0 win against Alabama State in McKale Center on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016.

It is that time of year again—the part of the calendar that has sports fans shivering in excitement and counting down the days until the game is finally here. Of course, I am talking about the Pac-12 Conference play, as if it were anything else.

The time for meaningful or meaningless non-conference games has come and gone and it’s finally time to see where the Arizona Wildcats sports teams fall in the pecking order of the only Power Five conference west of Texas.

Volleyball

It all starts Wednesday as the Wildcats’ volleyball team renews its rivalry with ASU in a matchup between two squads trying to find their way. ASU, losers of its last two matches, will come to Tucson looking to start strong and improve on its 7-5 non-conference record. 

Although struggling on the season, ASU is the only team between the two to beat a ranked opponent, scoring a win versus then-No. 17 Santa Clara. The Wildcats have had several opportunities to do so against ranked teams against then-No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 6 Hawaii and No. 16 Texas A&M, but have come up short each time. Arizona was even swept in two of those three matches.

The Wildcats come into conference play on the heels of a five-match winning streak, including a sweep at the Butler Invitational this past weekend. It will be vital for Arizona to get off to a good start when it takes on ASU. After that matchup, the team hits the road to face one of six teams in the Pac-12 ranked in the top 25, facing No. 18 Colorado in Boulder on Sunday.

The matchup with ASU takes place on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m., in McKale Center. 

Football

After struggling to find its way through the non-conference schedule, the Wildcats will start conference play at home against ninth-ranked Washington. The Huskies beat Arizona 49-3 last year in Seattle. 

The Huskies are a strong contender to win the Pac-12 North division and conference as a whole this year.

Arizona is no stranger to games against highly-ranked Washington teams, the most prominent one coming in 1992 as the Wildcats defeated the then-No. 1 ranked Huskies 16-3. The prior season, in 1991, Washington embarrassed the Wildcats 54-0 in Seattle. Coincidence?

The Wildcats follow up this Saturday’s matchup by going on the road to UCLA and Utah in back-to-back weeks before returning home for family weekend against USC—never an easy task in the Pac-12. 

Kickoff for Saturday’s matchup is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Arizona Stadium.



Follow Saul Bookman on Twitter.


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