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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    V-ball gets a break from Pac-10 play

    The Arizona volleyball team gets a breather from conference play as it takes on No. 18 Colorado State tonight at 7 in McKale Center.

    But with the Wildcats needing to win three of the last five games of the season to get to the postseason, it’s really not a break at all.

    “”It’s another

    It’s another game to win. I don’t care what conference they’re in. It’s a game that we desperately need to win.

    -Dominique Lamb,
    middle blocker

    game to win,”” said UA middle blocker Dominique Lamb. “”I don’t care what conference they’re in. It’s a game that we desperately need to win.””

    The Rams (18-5, 11-2) sit atop the Mountain West Conference, while the Wildcats (13-13, 3-11) occupy ninth place in the Pacific 10 Conference, arguably the toughest in the nation.

    “”When we play hard against them down the stretch, then we’ll prove just how hard our conference is,”” Lamb said. “”This is a pretty hard conference to play in.””

    The Wildcats are coming off a three-game loss to ASU on Wednesday – their seventh sweep in conference play – while the Rams had a three-game win the same night. It was their 18th win in the last 20 games.

    Senior Tonya Mokelki swatted a blistering .708 – a career high – in CSU’s win. Mekana Barnes hit .538 with 14 kills. The Rams have a .282 hitting percentage.

    “”I’ve heard they’re very good,”” said UA head coach Dave Rubio, “”so I don’t think it’s going to be that different in terms of what we’re used to. I’m sure if they were in our conference they’d be in the middle of the pack.””

    The challenge for the Wildcats will not just be about defeating a ranked opponent – although Arizona is 0-8 against top-25 teams this season, all of them Pac-10 teams.

    Rather, it will be a challenge to stay consistent during the last five points of the game, Rubio said.

    “”You can pretty much count on the fact that it’s going to go down to the wire again,”” he said, “”and the question again is going to be, ‘How are we going to perform between (points) 25 and 30?’

    “”You have to play well enough to win at the very end.””

    Arizona is riding on the coattails of freshman outside hitter Tiffany Owens, who against ASU slammed down 25 kills for the second time this season. She is now hitting .229, while the team is on a .220 pace.

    The change of playing on a Wednesday and a Friday, rather than Thursday and Friday, will not affect the Wildcats’ performance, players insisted.

    “”Arizona volleyball trains harder than any other volleyball team out there,”” Owens said. “”It’s nothing new to us. We’ll be ready.””

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