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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Volleyball journey begins

    Last season the volleyball team had the killer instinct of Kim Glass, right, whos about to spike the ball in the teams practice on Wednesday. Without Glass, the team will once again have to fight for respect, but it will have help from the No. 4 recruit in the country, Whitney Dosty.
    Last season the volleyball team had the killer instinct of Kim Glass, right, who’s about to spike the ball in the team’s practice on Wednesday. Without Glass, the team will once again have to fight for respect, but it will have help from the No. 4 recruit in the country, Whitney Dosty.

    After falling a point short of the Final Four last season, the No. 18 Arizona volleyball team begins its run again with a new cast of characters.

    The Wildcats open their season in McKale Center today, as they take on Siena at 10 a.m., followed by a match with Northern Colorado at 7 p.m., and finish up with San Francisco Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Four Points Sheraton Arizona Invitational.

    Arizona has never faced Siena or Northern Colorado, and has faced San Francisco just once, back in 1997.

    “”I don’t think our preparation for these matches is going to be any different than when we prepare for other teams,”” said UA head coach Dave Rubio. “”We don’t know. We have never seen these teams before, so we are kind of walking in blind.””

    After making the program’s first NCAA Tournament ever last year, Siena is the preseason favorite to win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Northern Colorado finished fourth at the NCAA Division I Independent Championship and San Francisco’s 18-13 year was the second-best in school history, earning the team votes in the preseason poll.

    Although the Wildcats are the favorites in this event, as they occupy one of the preseason top 25 poll positions, Rubio said he knows his team has many things to improve on.

    “”It’s a different mindset from last year,”” Rubio said. “”We are definitely a team that is a work in progress throughout the year. We are just going to try to get better every day in practice.””

    But if the Wildcats have any wish of repeating what they accomplished last year, an Elite Eight appearance in which they were a point away from the Final Four, it all starts right now.

    “”I’m looking for a whole new start,”” said middle blocker Dominique Lamb. “”It’s my junior year, and I am looking forward to seeing the freshmen play and see how we play as a team this year.””

    Having All-Americans Kim Glass and Jennifer Abernathy was undeniably a major boost a year ago, as they were able to cover up some of their teammates’ errors with outstanding play, but Rubio said that unlike last year, the Wildcats are not going to have the luxury of having a margin for error.

    “”With a team with personnel so new to playing in matches, we need to mix it up a little,”” Rubio said. “”The reality of this team is that we are going to be looking at moving some people in and out, so what you see on one day isn’t necessarily what you will see on the next.””

    Therefore, Rubio said this year’s team theme is going to have to be different from last year’s.

    “”We are looking to provide some consistency over the next couple of months,”” Rubio said. “”Glass and Abernathy did carry a lot of the weight, and now we are asking some of the younger players to come in and hopefully provide some of the things those guys did.””

    Also gone with Glass is her powerful scoring ability that will undoubtedly need to be made up.

    The No. 1 candidate is quite possibly freshman outside hitter Whitney Dosty, the No. 4 recruit in the nation, according to PrepVolleyball.com.

    While offensive structure, serving and passing are the most important things to Rubio, scoring is still how you win the game, and without Glass, there is a lot of slack to be made up.

    Although a lot is dependent on the performance of Dosty, she still doesn’t want to forget the fact that team volleyball is the most important key to being successful.

    “”Working together and staying a team on and off the court is really important,”” she said. “”Playing our hardest is also important. There are going to be games that we may lose, but we are going to try to keep that to a minimum.””

    With everything said, Rubio still feels that serving and passing well is the essential piece to the puzzle of volleyball.

    “”The nice thing is that we still have some experience,”” Rubio said. “”But the bottom line is serving and passing. You have to do those things well to win.””

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