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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


V-ball sweeps Oregon schools

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

After dropping its first two games of conference play, the Arizona volleyball team is rolling. Over the weekend, the Wildcats took down Oregon State and No. 13 University of Oregon on the road, with both matches going five games.

The biggest story of the weekend was Arizona’s (14-4, 3-2 Pacific 10 Conference) ability to come back after trailing 2-1 in both matches, and doing so without its best offensive player, outside hitter Whitney Dosty.

“”It was definitely a terrific weekend,”” said Arizona head coach Dave Rubio. “”It was hard-fought with a lot of difficulties and challenges along the way.””

Dosty, who went into the weekend leading the Wildcats with 211 kills, injured her ankle in practice last week. She played the first three sets in the Oregon State (8-12, 1-5) match, but according to Rubio, the ankle was too painful for her to continue playing on.

Arizona also won the first set of both matches, which preceded the Wildcats dropping the next two before rebounding to win the final two.

“”(The weekend) was huge for us on two different fronts,”” Rubio said. “”First, that we were able to play well without Whitney (Dosty), and second, that the team just came together and fought hard without her presence. I thought the first game was very well-executed, but then Oregon stepped up the level and we just didn’t respond very well.””

In the weekend’s opening game against the Beavers, Arizona found a way to win even though OSU out-blocked the Wildcats 10.5-7.

“”(Oregon State) is a very good blocking team, but I’m not sure how much that affected us,”” Rubio said. “”We didn’t pass particularly well in that game, but we found a way to grind out a win without playing our best.””

The team’s mindset after falling behind in both matches was another aspect that Rubio said stood out. He said that his team hadn’t shown the ability to come back in a match after falling behind 2-1 in a while, and they were able to stay sharp mentally and pull off the comeback.

Another storyline for the win in Corvallis, Ore., was outside hitter Tiffany Owens’ career night. Owens racked up 32 kills while hitting at a .426 clip to go along with 20 digs against the Beavers.

“”Tiffany (Owens), she’s been solid all year,”” Rubio said. “”She has been one of the people who have been showing up every night and day offensively.””

The match against Oregon (15-3, 3-3) was a different story from an offensive standpoint, with Arizona receiving big offensive numbers from three players. Owens and junior Courtney Karst were responsible for 45 of UA’s 65 kills, with junior Cursty Jackson adding seven of her own.

Karst’s 22 kills were a career high, and she hit at a .320 clip. Her impressive offensive numbers might be explained by a shift in the rotation after Dosty couldn’t play against the Ducks. Rubio moved Karst over to the spot vacated by Dosty, and inserted junior Marketa Hanzlova into Karst’s spot.

All of the offensive career-highs couldn’t happen without senior setter Paige Weber, who had what Rubio called her best two games of the season.

“”(Weber) was terrific,”” he said. “”Nothing can happen without her being in the middle of it.””

As big as winning two road conference games for the Wildcats was, Rubio thinks the biggest benefit of the weekend might be mental.

“”Now,”” he said, “”our players feel like they can win at any time.””

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