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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Rubio wanted Pac-12 divisions

Gordon+Bates+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AUA+victory+over+Oregon+State+volleyball+at+McKale+Center+Sat%2C+Nov+6.
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA victory over Oregon State volleyball at McKale Center Sat, Nov 6.

If it were up to Dave Rubio, the Arizona volleyball team would be in the Southern Division of the Pac-12.

Unlike football, volleyball isn’t split up into two North and South divisions. In fact, the 12 volleyball coaches even had the opportunity to make it that way, Rubio said.

“It’s not two divisions, we’re playing double round-robin,” Arizona’s head coach said. “I wasn’t really a strong proponent of it, and I wanted to go to two divisions, but I was outvoted on that.”

He was outnumbered because the other coaches thought it would be unfair.

“They felt like the fairest way was to have everyone play each other twice,” Rubio said. “And, it’s without question the fairest way to determine who’s going to be the conference champion, but I think the best way to get to postseason play is having another week of nonconference.”

Analysis

Volleyball will now play in 22 conference matches this season, whereas football will only play in nine.

Let’s backtrack to the unfair argument.

If rankings were the basis for their concern, then it would make sense.

In the North Division there would be No. 1 California, No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 Washington and No. 16 Oregon. There would be four ranked teams up against two unranked, Washington State and Oregon State, leading to a very, competitive division.

In Arizona’s hypothetical division, there would be No.6 UCLA, No.13 USC and four unranked teams: Arizona, ASU, Colorado and Utah.

The two divisions would be unbalanced, but Arizona would be one of the top contenders in their own.

It’s too early in the season to see who’s going to be the team to be beat, especially with recent upsets like Penn State and Oregon. Oregon beat last year’s national champions 3-1, putting an end to Penn State’s 94 consecutive home game-winning streak that began back in 2006.

A win comes down to who shows up to play, just like any other sport. On paper, Arizona will inarguably be a smaller team in the conference this season. But there have been really short teams, shorter than Arizona, who have taken “big” teams by surprise with scrappy defense and strategic offense.

It’s a big misconception in volleyball that the team with bigger members will always prevail. What really matters is seeing the court, reading the court and placing the ball in the “money” spots.

Conference play is just starting and Arizona has already been written off as short and young, but tall and old isn’t always better.

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