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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


V-ball hits the road for first conference away games

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA victory over ASU Friday, Oct 1 at University of Arizona McKale Center

Arizona volleyball’s home stand had to end sometime, and there’s no time better than the present.

This weekend, Arizona (12-4, 1-2 Pacific 10 Conference) travels to Oregon to take on Oregon State (8-10, 1-3 Pacific 10 Conference) tonight, followed by No. 13 University of Oregon (15-2, 2-2 Pacific 10 Conference) on Saturday.

“”I’m watching Oregon State, and they’re 8-10, and they might be the best 8-10 team I’ve seen,”” said Arizona head coach Dave Rubio. “”They’re big, physical, talented, young. They have a tendency to play really well at home.””

Young is definitely a good word to describe the Oregon State squad. Three true freshmen see extensive playing time, along with five sophomores.

Last year Arizona split two matches with the Beavers, winning at home and losing in Corvallis. The Wildcats defeated Oregon in both matches last season, and the Ducks were ranked in the top-15 both times.

So far in Pac-10 play, Arizona has looked like a top team at times and a bottom dweller at others. Starting fast when playing on the road is a key in any sport. Volleyball is no exception.

“”We just need to come out strong,”” said libero Candace Nicholson. “”They’re going to be fired up, so we need to be able to shut them down early.””

Oregon is going to provide a stiffer challenge. Ranked No. 13 in the country, the Ducks’ only two losses came at the hands of No. 1 Stanford and No. 7 California. Both schools defeated Arizona in Tucson.

“”I know Oregon is strong,”” continued Nicholson. “”They’ve lost twice, but both were this last weekend.””

Oregon finds itself in a similar position that the Wildcats were in last week. They had lost their two previous games and were looking for a rebound win.

Something that should be beneficial to the Wildcats is that Oregon and Oregon State are very similar teams.

“”Oregon is the same thing (as Oregon State),”” Rubio said. “”They’re young and really good, very talented, just inexperienced. We’re just going to have to do a really good job of playing consistent, and we’re going to have to follow a pretty good game plan.””

Maddie Lozano, a freshman middle blocker, thinks that consistency and progress are the two most important things this weekend.

“”We just need to work on the things we work on each practice,”” Lozano said. “”What we can’t do against Oregon State, hopefully we’ll be able to do against Oregon.””

Both matches are scheduled for 7 p.m. Arizona’s current three-game road trip is the longest it will be away from McKale this season. The Wildcats will repeat a three-game swing later this month, traveling to both Washington schools and rival ASU.

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