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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


V-ball falls to top-10 duo

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA loss to California Volleyball at McKale Center Friday, Sep 24

A week ago, the Arizona volleyball team was talking about how it had been looking forward to the beginning of conference play for months. Now, it’s a weekend the Wildcats can’t erase from memory soon enough.

Arizona opened the weekend with a devastating loss to No. 8 California (12-0, 2-0 Pacific 10 Conference), a match in which the Wildcats took a two game lead.

“”It does hurt, this is a disappointing loss for us,”” said senior outside hitter Tiffany Owens after the loss to Cal.

Even though Arizona (10-4, 0-2 Pacific 10 Conference) won the second set, it was a big turning point in the match for Cal after the Golden Bears ended the set on a 4-0 run and carried that momentum over to the rest of the match.

“”They gained some momentum going into game three,”” head coach Dave Rubio said. “”Our pattern has been that we get a two game lead, then in the third we start to relax. It’s disappointing that we couldn’t finish.””

It was the second time that Arizona has lost a match this year after taking a 2-0 lead. The Wildcats lost in the same fashion in the season opener to Cal Poly.

Despite the loss, the team was adamant after the match that it would move forward to its next match against Stanford.

It looked like the Wildcats spent a little more time dwelling on the devastating loss to Cal than they should have.

Stanford University (11-0, 2-0 Pac-10) — the nation’s No. 1 ranked team — handled Arizona with ease in a three-set sweep. The Wildcats were dominated, only holding brief leads at the beginning of the third set, then again in the same set 21-20.

Although his team was outclassed in every asset of the game, Rubio thinks that a coaching error he made when filling out the team’s rotation might have been a big factor in the loss.

“”I put in the wrong lineup, the players were in the wrong wheel,”” Rubio said. “”That had an effect on us in the first game, and it carried over to the second game. We didn’t really get back into the swing of things and playing comfortably until game three. (Sunday’s) loss was really more my fault than anybody’s.””

Rubio’s players didn’t echo his sentiment about where the blame fell for the shellacking at the hands of the Cardinal.

“”We just have to come out and play,”” senior Paige Weber said. “”We’re just as good as any of these teams. We should have won the Cal game in three (sets), but we didn’t, and we lost.

“”You’re going to have the opportunity to win the game, the set, whatever, and you’ve got to take it and we didn’t do that today.””

The beat-down from Stanford was an eye-opening experience for some of the players, who are now turning their focus to figuring out what went wrong.

“”We’re not sure exactly why we played the way we did today, it’s kind of up in the air,”” Owens said. “”I’m a little confused, the coaches are confused about why we came out and played the way we did today.””

Arizona has less than a week to figure out what went wrong and correct it with rival ASU coming to Tucson on Friday to continue Pac-10 play.

“”It’s about us finding it in ourselves to go out and play the way we’re capable of,”” Weber said. “”We have to dictate our own attitude and take that against the other team to them on the court.””

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