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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Volleyball faces brutal weekend

    Arizona freshman outside hitter Whitney Dosty attempts a kill in Arizonas four-game loss to ASU Sept. 22 in McKale Center. After starting the conference season 0-3, it doesnt get any easier for the Wildcats with undefeated No. 3 UCLA and No. 4 USC in town this weekend.
    Arizona freshman outside hitter Whitney Dosty attempts a kill in Arizona’s four-game loss to ASU Sept. 22 in McKale Center. After starting the conference season 0-3, it doesn’t get any easier for the Wildcats with undefeated No. 3 UCLA and No. 4 USC in town this weekend.

    With the loss of senior captain Kristina Baum before the start of Pacific 10 Conference play and the current four-game losing streak the Arizona women’s volleyball team has suffered, putting them in the basement of the conference, it seems like things can only get better for the struggling Wildcats.

    But like the saying goes, it could always be worse.

    UA head coach Dave Rubio said the Pac-10 schedule is relentless, as the Wildcats will finish a tough four-game stretch of top-10 teams when they square off against two perfect clubs, No. 3 UCLA (17-0, 4-0) and No. 4 USC (15-0, 4-0), this weekend in McKale Center.

    “”We know it is going to turn around, we just don’t know when,”” said junior middle blocker Dominique Lamb. “”We just need to calm ourselves down, find our way and play Arizona volleyball.””

    The Wildcats (9-6, 0-3 Pac-10 Conference) will host the Bruins tonight at 7 and the Trojans tomorrow night at 7, as they try to add their first victory to the conference win column.

    Although some would say the Wildcats’ current position is cause for panic, that is exactly what the team is trying not to do.

    “”I think if we play our game, we should have no problems,”” said freshman middle blocker Jacy Norton. “”We have to make sure we take care of our side of the court.””

    But if the Bruins have their way, Arizona might find themselves lost once again.

    Twelve of UCLA’s 17 wins have come by the way of a three-game sweep, and they were able to land a huge win when they knocked off defending champion Washington last weekend.

    UCLA senior middle blocker Nana Meriwether is a top player in the conference, as she leads the conference in hitting percentage (.537) by a wide margin as well as blocks (1.77 per game) and leads the Bruins in kills (4.15/game).

    “”UCLA in particular is really, really good,”” Rubio said. “”Meriwether, their middle, is certainly terrific, dynamic and really good.””

    As soon as they complete their game against UCLA, the Wildcats turn around and face a very similar USC team the following day.

    Though the tough schedule seemed to have come at a rough time for the Wildcats, Arizona is trying to stay positive.

    “”I think that this schedule came at a good time because we are going to get to face all these teams again in the season,”” said Whitney Dosty, a freshman outside hitter. “”If we know how we played the first time around, it will prepare us to play better the second time.””

    Said Norton: “”Our (assistant) coach Chris (Gonzalez) always says you can’t simulate that kind of pressure and that intensity in practice. It is a good opportunity for young players like me and Whitney to learn and perform in the second half of the season.””

    Just like the Bruins, USC has yet to suffer a loss. Eight of the Women of Troy’s 15 victories were three-game sweeps, and they lead the conference in blocks with 3.38 per game.

    Along with USC’s outstanding team performance, the team also has big-game breakers. Junior outside hitter Asia Kaczor paces the team in kills (4.46) and junior middle blocker Bethany Johansen leads the team in blocks (1.39).

    “”These teams that we are playing are going to be really tough, and we know that,”” said Dosty. “”We just need to go into it with the attitude that we are going to win, and hopefully we will.””

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