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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    V-ball takes on Sun Devils

    Arizona setter Paige Weber digs a ball in practice last week in McKale Center. Weber will get her first taste of the rivalry with ASU tonight at 7 in Tempe.
    Arizona setter Paige Weber digs a ball in practice last week in McKale Center. Weber will get her first taste of the rivalry with ASU tonight at 7 in Tempe.

    Coming from Indianapolis, Arizona volleyball player Paige Weber had only heard bits and pieces about the school’s rivalry with ASU.

    Tonight the freshman will learn a little bit more when the Wildcats head up Interstate 10 to take on the Sun Devils in Tempe’s Wells Fargo Arena at 7 p.m. The match will be televised by FSN and will air tomorrow at 1 p.m.

    “”Obviously, an instate rivalry is a blood-match,”” said Weber, the team’s setter. “”But I’m more excited because I know the girls from last year want to get their revenge.””

    The revenge for the Wildcats (12-6, 2-4 Pacific 10 Conference) will be beating the Sun Devils (10-9, 2-4) that defeated them in both meetings last season when the Wildcats went 13-17, and 4-14 in the Pac-10. A win for Arizona, which boasts 11 returners – including six starters – from last year’s squad, would match last season’s win total, which wasn’t achieved until Nov. 17 last year.

    “”We’re a much better team than we were last year,”” said UA head coach Dave Rubio.

    Rubio added that he is surprised his team has done so well this season without its star outside hitter, Whitney Dosty, whom Rubio said is redshirting this year, even though it has not been officially announced.

    As far as conference play goes, Arizona and ASU are in very similar positions. Both have identical conference records and have won and lost against the same Pac-10 teams. Statistically, Arizona hits .218 and averages 14.84 kills, 15.97 digs and 3.32 blocks per game. Meanwhile, ASU hits .220 and registers 15.90 kills, 16.32 digs and 2.46 blocks per game.

    The Sun Devils have the advantage at libero with senior Sydney Donahue holding the position down. She has broken several ASU and Pac-10 records in her career, including the ASU All-time career digs record and is currently first in the conference with 6.42 digs per game.

    “”We can’t serve the ball to the middle of the court,”” Rubio told his players during practice Monday. “”ASU has the best libero in the conference. Work around her.””

    The Wildcats have lost four of their last six matches, including a three-game loss to No. 8 Washington last Friday. After the loss, the key to winning this match, Weber said, is consistency.

    “”We just have to go out and play as a team like we’ve been practicing,”” said Weber, who averages 12.29 assists per game. “”Like Dave always says, ‘We’re not going to out-physical anybody in this conference.’ But if we play – especially with the girls we have – as a team and everybody does their part, then this weekend will swing us into the upcoming weekends as a stronger team.””

    With both teams protecting similar records, statistics and young rosters, Rubio said that there is plenty to be excited about on top of the instate rivalry.

    “”It’s going to be a hotly contested match,”” Rubio said. “”It’s going to be interesting to see what happens.””

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