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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Volleyball wins tourney

    For the second time this season, the Arizona volleyball team won a weekend tournament and its players received honors for their performances.

    The Wildcats (8-1) demonstrated their ability to adapt to change at the California State University Bakersfield Invitational tournament, finishing 3-0. The team prevailed over Chicago State (25-5, 15-12, 25-16), Fresno State (25-17, 28-30, 25-17, 25-14) and Bakersfield (25-17, 25-9, 25-20).

    Winning the tournament wasn’t the only exciting occurrence for the squad: Sophomore Paige Weber was named MVP for the second time this season.

    Despite the star setter’s acknowledged talent in her position, Weber was surprised by the recognition.

    “”I don’t really know, I get so confused when they give me these awards,”” said Weber, who received her first MVP award of the season at the Wildcat Classic. “”I know that what I do puts the team in motion, but … really gauging a setter’s effect on the team is hard.””

    Just like every quarterback, point guard and pitcher, the setter has the most influence over every play in a volleyball match.

    An outside hitter may get 15 kills and 11 blocks in a match – which is quite an accomplishment – but many times a setter’s perfect set is eclipsed by the celebration of the hitter’s kill.

    “”I try not to miss a lot of serves, get kills whenever I can and keep the team as consistent as often as possible,”” said Weber, who amassed 114 assists in the tournament. “”As a setter, that’s my job.””

    Weber racked up secondhand points left and right throughout the duration of the tournament, earning a season-high 46 against Fresno State. She had 34 against Chicago State and CSUB both.The honor roll didn’t stop with Weber.

    Junior Jacy Norton and redshirt sophomore Whitney Dosty were honored on the all-tournament team next to Weber.

    Rubio said he was impressed by Weber’s overall MVP performance and with Norton’s reliability on the court as well. He said he was pleased with many aspects of the weekend – others, not so much.

    “”I thought we played very well against Bakersfield. We served and passed very well and our attacking was good,”” Rubio said. “”I thought the match … (against Fresno State) was a little sloppy. But it was good that we were able to come back that next match as efficiently as we did.””

    The Wildcats dropped their only set of the weekend to Fresno State (3-1), giving away 28 points in errors – 20 attacking, six service and two blocking errors.

    Looking past some negative areas, the head coach highlighted the performance of certain players.

    “”WhitneProxy-Connection: keep-alive
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    put together her best weekend so far,”” Rubio said. “”Her error rate was low and she continues to make improvements.””

    Dosty said she felt confident this weekend and was pleased with her team’s performance as a whole.

    “”I feel like I’ve been improving from week to week and it’s starting to show in the numbers of my hitting and serving,”” she said after earning 29 total kills and averaging a .314 hitting percentage this weekend. “”I still think there are things I need to work on, but I thought we played well overall as a team.””

    The Wildcats may have kept their focus on the court, but because it was Rubio’s first time playing in Bakersfield since he traded his coaching position there for the one at Arizona 16 years ago, the team had a far from normal experience off the court.

    The team went to an alumni dinner for Rubio’s 1989 team that was the Division-II national champion, which included a highlight video of Rubio’s time at the school.

    The players were all at the dinner, allowing Rubio’s new team to meet the old.

    Dosty and Weber said it was nice to get to see all of his former players, but they most enjoyed watching the video of the young Rubio.

    “”He looked a lot different (in the video),”” Dosty said. “”He had glasses and his hair style was funny.

    “”He had a lot more hair back then, too,”” Dosty added with a chuckle. “”It was so funny – we were all laughing so hard and making fun of him.””

    Rubio didn’t mind the jokes, and enjoyed the visit back to where he started it all.

    “”For me, personally, it was nice to go back and visit all my friends and see everyone,”” Rubio said. “”All those things were really fun for me.””

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