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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Club Roundup

    Men’s volleyball wins SDSU tourney

    After shaking off the rust in last weekend’s UA Friendship tournament, the men’s club volleyball team traveled to San Diego and left pleasantries behind, crushing opposition en route to winning the SDSU Friendship tournament.

    “”We had a really good tournament,”” said UA head coach Dave Thistle. “”It was a good test of ourselves and gave us a great opportunity to see where we’re at and what we need to work on for the rest of the season.””

    The team started off the tournament slowly but eventually faced off against ASU in the tournament finals. The Wildcats won in two games.

    “”It was sweet,”” Arizona setter Duff Hearon said of the victory.

    Although the UA has been dominant in the past two tournaments, many areas still can be improved – most notably the team’s focus, said outside hitter Eric Vincent.

    “”Sometimes, it just seems like we’re getting caught half asleep out there,”” he said. “”I think that’s because we know our capabilities, but we just need to go out there and make sure we’re ready to play against every team. Our biggest problem is coming to every game ready to play.””

    The team looks to correct its focus issues so it can turn its attention to other areas that need improvement, such as defense and blocking, Thistle said.

    “”I know I’m being picky, but we have a ton of stuff we need to work on,”” Thistle said. “”We need to focus on the little things, ball control and how intense we come out to start games. My biggest concern was our transition defense. We’re not doing a great job at taking care of the easy stuff, but we have the athletes to do that. But, overall, they basically nailed it.””

    With the team setting its sights on regional and national championships, coaches and players realize it’s important to carry this weekend’s momentum over to their upcoming tournament in Chicago in two weeks, when better competition awaits.

    Loyola-Chicago, one potential opponent, was an NCAA Division-I top-10 team last year.

    “”It was great to get an invite to their tournament,”” said outside hitter Michael Harrison. “”Obviously, they recognize our talent. We’ve had a championship team here in five of the last eight years, so they know we can compete. We just need to play hard and, hopefully, we can knock off some top teams and prove to them that we’re worthy.””

    Wrestling continues quest to gain respect

    The Arizona club wrestling team came back from this weekend’s Fullerton Open Wrestling Tournament with compliments from opposing coaches and a growing sense of accomplishment as a young program.

    “”It was a tough weekend for us,”” said head coach P.J. Rovinelli. “”We ran into a lot of (NCAA) Division-I and (Pacific 10 Conference) wrestlers, but, overall, we had a good performance.””

    The Fullerton Open featured top-level NCAA competition in Cal State-Fullerton, Stanford, ASU, Cal State-Bakersfield, Embry-Riddle, UC-Davis, Cal Poly, Pima College and San Jose State.

    The Wildcats were slightly shorthanded coming into the tournament, as several players missed action due to academic commitments, but the team wrestled much better than in last week’s matches at the Embry-Riddle Open and the dual meet versus Pima, Rovinelli said.

    “”The main thing is we need some more mat time,”” he said. “”With our limited mat time, we’ve had to make up for it by doing more conditioning.””

    Arizona’s Pat Cundiff highlighted the team’s weekend with a 3-2 record, Rovinelli said, adding that if Cundiff had competited a weight class lower than the 165-pound class, he would have placed.

    Rovinelli also said Kevin Gressley wrestled tough and showed he’s a strong athlete primed for continued success this season.

    “”We keep getting a lot of positive feedback from coaches on all levels,”” Rovinelli said. “”They’ve been impressed with the way we’re wrestling as a first-year program. It’s always good to hear that from the wrestling community.””

    Rovinelli thinks the recent successes should translate well for Arizona’s tournament in Boston in two weeks, when the Wildcats have dual meets against Massachusetts and Northeastern – two traditionally strong wrestling programs.

    “”I’m excited for (Boston), and I think the guys have already been facing tougher competition than we’ll see in Boston. … If we continue to wrestle well, we could potentially win our conference championships (at San Jose State on March 2),”” he said.

    Men’s rugby loses steam against U.S. team

    The Arizona men’s club rugby team was looking to see what it was made of Saturday, and what better measuring stick than the U.S. Under-20 men’s national team?

    The Wildcats lost 48-8.

    “”We try to get in games in the preseason that are challenging,”” said Arizona team captain Kevin Hills. “”It’s easier to build a team when you’re playing challenging teams rather than playing weaker teams. (The U.S. team) knew a few tricks and played a little dirty, and we did fall apart in the second half, but it was definitely a fun game for us.””

    The U.S. team definitely posed a formidable test for the Wildcats, but Arizona (1-1) didn’t lie down in the match played at the Rincon Vista Sports Complex. In fact, the Wildcats led for the majority of the first half until the U.S. squad scored in the final seconds of the first half to take a 10-8 lead.

    “”They were an outstanding team with great continuity,”” said Arizona head coach Dave Sitton. “”We faltered in the second half, but the final score didn’t reflect how our team played.””

    The exhibition match was a great learning experience for Arizona, and the team hopes to use this as a springboard for the rest of the season, Hills said.

    “”(The U.S. team) had a lot more depth than us,”” Hills said. “”We also had a few injuries in the second half and our reserves couldn’t match the talent of theirs. Lots of our reserves are inexperienced and hadn’t played at that level yet.””

    Sitton said he was pleased with the team’s overall performance but saw a few areas Arizona needs to improve on before its next game against ASU on Nov. 30.

    “”Transition is very important in rugby, and we need to work on that,”” Sitton said. “”We also need to step up our velocity. The U.S. team played an up-tempo, high-paced game, and that’s exactly what we need to do to improve – play at a higher velocity. I’m glad the team played the way they did against the U.S team. It was a good day for us, in a strange way.””

    The junior varsity, freshman and rookie teams all won their respective matches Saturday.

    The JV team beat the Old Pueblo varsity squad 29-12 in the first match of the day. The rookie team faced off against the Old Pueblo B-team in the day’s second match, winning 25-10, and the freshman team beat the Tucson Under-23 squad 34-3.

    “”The glass is definitely half full right now,”” Sitton said.

    – compiled by Brian Kimball

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