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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    V-Ball in for a challenge vs. Huskies

    Junior libero Katie Jackels sets the ball in Arizonas four-set loss to No. 2 Washington Oct. 20 in McKale Center. The Wildcats meet the Huskies for a rematch tonight in Seattle at 8.
    Junior libero Katie Jackels sets the ball in Arizona’s four-set loss to No. 2 Washington Oct. 20 in McKale Center. The Wildcats meet the Huskies for a rematch tonight in Seattle at 8.

    Some members of the Arizona volleyball team said they played at their highest level of the year over the weekend, but the Wildcats may have to raise their game another notch if they stand a chance in the game tonight at 8 at No. 2 Washington.

    Coming off its first Pacific 10 Conference weekend sweep last weekend, Arizona (12-15, 3-12) faces the challenge of continuing its winning ways against the Huskies (22-3, 12-3), who have not suffered a loss since Sept. 29 and are the defending national champions.

    “”I think we all know that Washington is beatable,”” freshman opposite hitter Jacy Norton said. “”If we play our side, we lower our errors and play aggressively, we all think we have a good shot at winning.””

    But stopping the Huskies will not be an easy task, as Washington is undefeated at home and searching for its overall 11th consecutive victory.

    UA head coach Dave Rubio said the Huskies are a top-notch team, and his team needs to play at a consistently high level to compete, which is something Arizona has struggled with.

    “”Washington’s trademark is that they are very consistent, and they never beat themselves,”” Rubio said. “”They are very basic. It’s not rocket science, what they do. They are going to come right at you, and you know what’s coming, but they are just going to do it better than you.””

    Straightforward or not, Washington has key players who consistently put up big numbers.

    The Huskies lead the Pac-10 in hitting percentage with a .305 mark, held up by sophomore Jessica Swarbrick and junior Alesha Deesing, hitting .432 and .422, respectively.

    But like Rubio said, great hitting is supported by great passing, and that is no exception for Washington, as Husky senior setter Courtney Thompson leads the nation in assists with 15.01 per game.

    “”The have a really good leader in Courtney,”” sophomore libero Katie Jackels said. “”She just knows how to play the game so well and knows how to win no matter what.””

    With Arizona hitting just .179 as a team on the season, Norton said it is going to be a challenge playing at an elevated level the entire match, but she said it could be done.

    “”Washington is a very tough-serving team,”” Norton said. “”They have very low hitting errors, so we are going to need to terminate the ball.””

    Just before the two teams last met, Arizona was having major struggles with attacking errors, but the Wildcats posted 22 in that match, 10 fewer than Washington.

    More important than all of the game plans and the statistics, many Arizona players said they just want to come out and compete at the same level they did last weekend.

    Jackels said Arizona’s high level of play came as a result of players fighting for what they wanted.

    “”We just competed,”” she said. “”I don’t feel like we had truly competed and wanted something so badly, and last week it just came together for us.””

    Rubio also said he thought the team just came out and fought last weekend, which led to superior play and, eventually, wins.

    “”I would like to see the same frame of mind that we had last weekend,”” Rubio said. “”I felt like we really competed well, especially at times where it really mattered the most. The players asserted themselves in tight situations.””

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