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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Setting the roster

Head coach Dave Rubio’s incoming class of six players is ranked as the 11th-best in the country, according to www.prepvolleyball.com.

But Rubio said he knows that volleyball matches aren’t won based on who has the highest-rated recruiting class.

“”I think the rankings are always great for publicity, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate how good they’re going to be until they actually get in the program,”” Rubio said. “”Talk to me after a year and I’ll let you know whether that ranking is accurate or not.””

The best

While Rubio is waiting to see if Prepvolleyball.com’s prediction is accurate, he’s sure of one player, Madison Kingdon.

“”We know for sure Kingdon is legit,”” Rubio said. “”She graduated early, she’s been here since January and has been through the entire spring semester.””

Rubio has had ample time to size up the outside hitter from Phoenix. The freshman went to Sunnyslope High School and played for the Arizona Storm Club.

Even before she makes her 2011 season debut, Kingdon has already racked up some accolades. The Player of the Year for the state of Arizona was selected for two prestigious teams, the USA A2 team and the US Junior National team.

“”She made the USA A2 team, which is equivalent to the collegiate All-Star game, and then she made USA A2 all-tournament on that team,”” Rubio said. “”She also made the Junior National team, which is pretty exclusive. They’ll be competing in Peru in July and she’ll be representing the USA team in that age group.””

Her position may be on the outside, but Kingdon is one of those all-around players who can take on any one of the six positions on the court if needed, Rubio said. As he puts it, she’s a “”pure-six rotation player,”” who could hypothetically stay in every game during the match.

Kingdon, who flew under the radar during her high school and club career, came as somewhat of a surprise to Rubio. Rubio said he wasn’t sure what made her so special aside from her skill set.

“”She never tried out for any of the USA programs,”” Rubio said. “”This is really new to her, all these things, all these teams she’s made … and new to the coaches, because nobody knew of her — she played on a mid-level to lower-level club team. I really didn’t know how good she was, I knew she was going to be good, but until she actually got here, we didn’t realize (how good).””

The rest

Kingdon isn’t the only reason for the class ranking — the other five incoming players come bearing talent.

In the middle, Arizona welcomes Halli Amaro and Rachel Rhoades, who are ranked in the top 60 of 2011 recruits.

Moving away from the middle, there will be Shaquillah Torres and Taylor Arizobal — both hailing from Saddleback Volleyball Club. Both have the potential to be major offensive threats for the Wildcats.

At the setter position, Rubio recruited Under Armour All-American Chloe Mathis. Standing at 5-foot-11, Mathis will also provide good height at the net for Rubio’s relatively small team.

“”With Kingdon being here, it really replaces someone like Tiffany Owens, who really played an exceptionally large role for us last year. But, do we have someone to replace Paige (Weber) or to replace Whitney (Dosty)? It’s hard to say, we won’t know that until the season,”” Rubio said.     

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