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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


What to expect from the Arizona volleyball team when they face No. 15 UCLA

Megan Ewing

Arizona volleyball player Emery Herman jumps up for a set pass on Feb. 19, 2021, in McKale Center.

After a successful weekend sweep against Oregon State, the Arizona volleyball team looks to carry that momentum into its next two matches against No. 15 UCLA on Friday, Feb. 26, and Sunday, Feb. 28. 

The Wildcats will be going in short-handed as it was announced by head coach Dave Rubio at Wednesday’s weekly press conference that middle blocker China Rai Crouch would not be available for the weekend series in Los Angeles.

“[Rai Crouch] is out because of concussion protocol,” Rubio said. “Right now, we are just focused on trying to get better at each position.”

Rubio did offer an optimistic update on outside hitter Paige Whipple, who missed the last two games due to a back injury. 

“[Whipple] is practicing this week which is good,” Rubio said. “We are going to take it day by day with her because of her back.” 

Rubio said that he feels that his star setter Emery Herman will help the team overcome the surplus of injuries and be the difference between victory and defeat this weekend.

“It is decision making by [Herman],” Rubio said. “It is the location that [Herman] sets the ball and then it is stability from the outside hitters and the middle hitters to be able to put themselves in a scoring position.”

RELATED: Arizona volleyball sweeps Oregon State to regain season momentum

Arizona knows how good UCLA is, but middle blocker Merle Weidt has all the confidence in her team to pull off the upset.

“I believe we have the potential to beat UCLA,” Weidt said. “If we clean up our errors and play as one unit, we have the potential to beat them this weekend.”

Outside hitter Dilara Gedikoglu mirrored what coach Rubio mentioned earlier about how the Wildcats will beat UCLA.

“We have good consistency in passing and serving,” Gedikoglu said. “If we keep doing that and extra blocking on defense, then I think we can beat them.”

The Wildcats will face the Bruins in two matches at Pauley Pavilion on Feb. 26 at 12 p.m. MST and Feb. 28 at 1 p.m. MST. 

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