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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Dosty returns to v-ball; UA splits exhibition

    Outside hitter Whitney Dosty goes down for a dig in an offseason game against New Mexico State Saturday in McKale Center. Dosty will be a redshirt junior next season after missing the majority of last year due to an array of knee injuries.
    Outside hitter Whitney Dosty goes down for a dig in an offseason game against New Mexico State Saturday in McKale Center. Dosty will be a redshirt junior next season after missing the majority of last year due to an array of knee injuries.

    While the Wildcat faithful hoped Whitney Dosty’s return to the volleyball court would have her competing at the level she once was before her knee injuries, such optimism is purely wishful thinking as of now.

    The UA outside hitter, who missed her sophomore season with a medical redshirt, showed flashes of her old form in Saturday’s exhibition games against New Mexico State, but it remained clear that she still has a ways to go.

    “”Physically, I’m 100 percent with my knee and everything so it’s good to be back and feels good,”” Dosty said after the matches. “”But getting back into the swing of things, that’s the most challenging.””

    The UA volleyball team split its two exhibition matches against the Aggies, winning the first (25-16, 25-23, 25-27, 25-20) and making a valiant comeback from two sets down before dropping the second (21-25, 25-27, 27-25, 25-17, 11-15).

    “”We’re certainly demonstrating more consistency in our execution,”” said UA head coach Dave Rubio. “”We’re playing like a more mature and older team.””

    Dosty struggled to shake the dust off in her first competitive match back on the court. While she accounted for five kills, she also had eight attack errors in the first match.

    The second match showed a slight improvement with Dosty registering six kills and nine digs, along with five errors.

    “”Her timing was a little off, but that’s to be expected,”” Rubio said of the 2006 Pac-10 All-Freshmen Team member. “”But overall I’m pleased with where she’s at and I know it’s only going to get better and smoother as time goes on.””

    Added Dosty: “”In practice, I’ve been working on my skills but the only way you really practice is in a game situation. So it’s difficult still getting back where I was but it’s fun.””

    The rest of the team showed a lot of promise as well, as it was led by outside hitter Brooke Buringrud and opposite hitter Randy Goodenough. Buringrud finished the first match with nine kills and only five errors on the way to a .450 hitting percentage – “”All-American”” numbers, as Rubio described it.

    Goodenough kept the team fighting in the second match, and her 10 kills helped her to a .300 hitting percentage.

    The surprise player of the day may have been middle blocker Stephanie Snow, who had 11 kills between both matches and no errors leading to a .600 hitting percentage in the first match and a .800 in the second.

    “”I’ve always thought she was capable of playing at that level but we had never seen her assert herself,”” Rubio said of Snow, who appeared in just 15 of Arizona’s 108 games last season as a freshman. “”She’s a difference maker when she plays like that and offensively she can score for us.””

    The Wildcats came out firing in the first match of the exhibition against a New Mexico State team that finished in the Top 25 this past season. With the score at 13-10 in the first game, Arizona used a 7-0 run capped by a Buringrud kill to put the game out of reach and set the tempo for the next game.

    In the fourth game of the match, the team allowed the Aggies to come back from a 20-10 deficit to tie the game. After a timeout by Rubio, however, the Wildcats put the game away with five straight points of their own.

    The second match didn’t show the Wildcats coming out with as much momentum as they dropped the first two games. After squeaking out the third game, the team dominated the fourth to send the exhibition match to a fifth set.

    The team came out dry, however, and lost the first five points and were never able
    to recover.

    “”The fifth game, we really weren’t emotionally and mentally ready.”” Rubio said “”(New Mexico State) came out emotionally ready and really tuned in and as a result it was never much of a game.””

    Rubio remained optimistic, though, and was impressed with his team’s overall performance, a sentiment shared by most of the players as well.

    “”I think we did well today and it was good to see everyone back from injuries,”” Buringrud said. “”We played with a lot of different lineups and even with a lot of lineups we did well.””

    The volleyball team will return to action next weekend at a tournament in San Diego.

    Extra serving

    The injury bug reared its ugly head again for the UA squad as utility player Elise Hendrickson went down with a torn ACL in practice Thursday. The extent of the injury is not known yet, Rubio said, but it is not career-threatening.

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