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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    It’s not a myth: Chemistry counts

    Last Friday the door to the Arizona volleyball locker room flew open and four members of the team danced out into the corridor of McKale Center dressed in white collared shirts and gray sweatpants.

    “”She moves her body like a cyclone,”” they sang in unison, reciting the lyrics to a song by pop artist Baby Bash. They held their arms up and moved their hips in a circular motion like – you guessed it – a cyclone.

    After the chorus, they laughed loud and began talking fast. They made their way down the hall to an elevator. Once inside, the metal box transformed into a jukebox as the needle was put back down onto the chorus of “”Cyclone.””

    The elevator stopped on the second floor and the players exited before realizing they had to go up one more floor to get to the Lohse Room for a media gathering. They got back into the elevator, laughing hard at their mistake.

    “”It’s always like that, everywhere we go,”” said freshmen Paige Weber, one of the women who displayed her vocals in the elevator. “”We’re always laughing, we’re always singing, we’re always dancing.””

    After a brutal 13-17 record last season that included a 4-14 Pacific 10 Conference mark – the first season in the last 11 in which the squad failed to make it to the postseason under head coach Dave Rubio – this team camaraderie is just what the doctor ordered.

    Every sports team ever known to man (or woman) has cited team chemistry and camaraderie as the main reason behind its success. The UA volleyball team is no exception.

    As the squad prepares for its first match of the season Friday in McKale, the Wildcats are looking for a special unity – on and off the court – to lead them through the season after a flubbed 2006.

    “”Our team chemistry is so much better this year,”” said sophomore Jacy Norton. “”I thought last year was amazing because we all got along so well, but this year is better. All of our incoming freshmen and returning players just work together so much better this year.””

    Norton said that there is an improved understanding of how Rubio’s system works and where each player is supposed to be on the court at all times. Setting and blocking has improved dramatically since last season already, Rubio said, though serving still needs some attention.

    The teamwork is evident: the group skills – the bump-set-spike aspect of the game – is being polished, and the individual aspect is what needs the most work.

    To keep the flow on the court, the girls will sustain the fun that they have together, whether it’s singing, dancing, laughing or participating in the team’s 16th annual “”skit night,”” like it did on Thursday, when the players split into groups according to class and made fun of themselves and the rest of the team, all in good fun.

    “”When I look at a lot of other teams, they’re teammates,”” Weber said. “”Not that we aren’t teammates, but we’re teammates on the court and then as soon as we get off the court, we’re a bunch of really good friends, like sisters.””

    This camaraderie is the best way to get back into the winning circle. Like a cyclone.

    Lance Madden is a journalism sophomore. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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