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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Final games take V-ball to SoCal

Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Alan Walsh
Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The final weekend of the regular season has arrived for the Arizona volleyball team. The No. 19 Wildcats finish their Pacific 10 Conference schedule on the road at No. 9 UCLA on Friday at 4 p.m. and at No. 16 USC on Saturday at 3 p.m.

“”The L.A. schools are going to be great to finish on,”” said senior middle blocker Jacy Norton, “”but it’s just as important as every other win.””

Norton and the Wildcats have built a season of 19 wins, including a neutral 8-8 conference record. Although head coach Dave Rubio believes Arizona’s presence in the NCAA Tournament is all but guaranteed, stealing a victory on the road would be the best outcome for the Wildcats to finish the season with some momentum.

After Arizona dropped its first game last weekend to then-No. 6 Stanford, the Wildcats rebounded by whooping the California Golden Bears 3-1 in a match that showed just how far Arizona has come this season.

“”We’re really progressing as a team, and we’re really playing our best volleyball here at the end of the season so I think that will continue on to the next week even if we are away,”” said junior middle blocker Stephanie Snow.

Arizona will have to face some tough competition before it gets to the postseason, however.

The Bruins (20-8, 11-5 Pac-10) made a run in the middle of the season to win seven straight games against the Pac-10, including three straight road victories against the California schools. The last time out, UCLA junior Dicey McGraw hit the Wildcats for 20 kills as the Bruins handed Arizona its first loss of the season. McGraw is the leader for the Bruins, hitting just over three kills per set.

UCLA has since traded wins and losses in its last four games, proving just how up and down the Pac-10 can be. Now, Arizona will look to take advantage of UCLA’s losing streak, as the Bruins fell at Oregon Saturday.

“”It’ll be tough just because we’re away,”” Snow said, “”but I think we’re all ready for it.””

The Wildcats have already beaten USC (19-9, 8-8 Pac-10) this season in Tucson, but will now have to face the Trojans on the road. When the two teams met in the first game of the Pac-10 season, Arizona managed to take the match 3-1. One notable factor that will be different the second go-around is that redshirt junior outside hitter Whitney Dosty did not play against the Trojans the first time.

The end of the conference season will bring excitement to the Wildcats as they anxiously await the outcome of Selection Sunday, which will air on “”ESPNEWS”” this weekend. First, though, they’ll have to battle in Los Angeles to end the Pac-10 season on a high note.

“”I think now if we can even split on the road,”” Rubio said, “”you have a chance of maybe getting a seed. They seed the top 16.””

Extra Serving

Pacific 10 Conference commissioner Larry Scott announced that four Wildcats earned All-Academic honors on Monday.

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