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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Volleyball swept by ASU to end subpar season

    TEMPE – Dave Rubio crossed his arms, looked down and shook his head with disgust following Arizona’s loss to ASU Friday night.

    After the team won three of its last four matches entering Friday’s contest, the UA volleyball head coach said Arizona (13-17, 4-14 Pacific 10 Conference) came out with a lackluster approach against the Sun Devils, only to be swept 30-23, 30-21 and 30-24 to conclude the 2006 campaign in front of a large crowd of 1,607 fans in Wells Fargo Arena.

    “”They (ASU) came out and were aggressive and had a lot of energy and enthusiasm,”” Rubio said. “”We could never get any rhythm, and they were much more prepared for this match than we were. We looked distracted and unprepared the entire match.””

    The Sun Devils (15-14, 7-11) were in a must-win situation, needing to be over .500 to qualify for a NCAA Tournament bid, while Arizona had nothing tangible to play for.

    ASU head coach Brad Saindon said he was impressed with the way the Sun Devils played and feels his team is a deserving recipient of a postseason invitation.

    “”For us, this was our last shot to get into the NCAA Tournament, and maybe that was more for us to play for than Arizona had to play for,”” Saindon said. “”I thought it was going to be a lot tougher match than it turned out to be. I am not sure if we were playing really well or if Arizona was just off, but I am happy with the way we played.””

    The Wildcats were not convinced by the Sun Devils’ performance following the game, as a few players claimed it was their lack of execution that led to such a lopsided loss.

    And the evidence was shown in the numbers.

    ASU out-swung Arizona .208 to .079, while the Wildcats posted 25 attacking errors to the Sun Devils’ 17.

    Freshman opposite hitter Jacy Norton said the team lacked a sense of urgency that is pivotal to being successful.

    “”They just wanted it a lot more than us,”” Norton said. “”We played kind of lackadaisical, just a step slow. We wanted it. You could tell we wanted it. ASU had the will to win, and they fought pretty hard.””

    ASU seemed to have control throughout all three games, repeatedly keeping Arizona behind.

    The Sun Devils used five-point runs in all three games while adding nine service aces throughout the match to cruise to victory.

    “”We could never get our serve-receive in rhythm,”” Rubio said. “”They looked like a completely different team than I saw on tape last week. The game wasn’t even close, we just got our asses kicked.””

    Arizona senior setter Stephanie Butkus finished the match with 31 assists, putting her at 4,035 in her career to move into second place in program history behind only former setter and current assistant coach Dana Burkholder.

    Sophomore opposite hitter Randy Goodenough paced Arizona with 10 kills, followed by sophomore outside hitter Brooke Buringrud, who added nine.

    Rubio said the loss was a disappointing end to Arizona’s season and will be something that leaves a bitter taste in his players’ mouths while they train during the offseason.

    “”It is really disappointing, and I think that goes without saying,”” Rubio said. “”We have been playing well, we were improving, and I thought that we were ready to take another big step.

    “”Losing the match like that to your cross-town rival makes it even that much more difficult.””

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