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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Injury-plagued volleyball takes on top two in NCAA

When Taylor Arizobal fell to the ground after turning her ankle against Colorado, the Arizona volleyball team’s offense spiraled down with her.

Arizobal, the starting opposite hitter for the Wildcats, has provided stability in both hitting and blocking throughout the entire season.

Her ankle’s prognosis isn’t promising for this weekend’s play against No. 1 USC and No. 2 UCLA. The Wildcats play UCLA Friday in Los Angeles before facing USC on Saturday.

“It’s certainly a rough road trip to not be healthy,” said head coach Dave Rubio. “It has been a rough road for us in the second half of the season, because Madi’s (Kingdon) ankle, now this, and Candace (Nicholson) has been out.

“Every week, she hasn’t been able to practice, but she’s been able to play,” Rubio said of Nicholson, who has been struggling with a quad injury.

When Arizobal went down in the first set on Saturday, there was a brief look of worry on Rubio’s face. A second later he snapped back into his usual, calm demeanor, realizing the urgent need to construct an effective, makeshift offense.

Rubio quickly moved Courtney Karst from her outside position to Arizobal’s position on the right. He then placed Marketa Hanzlova on the left.

The switch didn’t go well — a factor that almost resulted in Arizona giving Colorado its first conference win.

“We lost a lot of offense with her out there,” Rubio said of moving Karst to the right side. “I didn’t particularly like how we lined up on Saturday with Courtney in the opposite and Marketa on the left. I’m not sure what we’re going to do.”

Their offense won’t look like what it did on Saturday, Rubio said.
“We’re tossing around a few different ideas,” Rubio said. “I think our options are moving Marketa to the right or maybe try Shaq (Shaquillah Torres) on the right.”

Regardless of who plays where, Arizona’s lineup will be fine as long as it minimizes errors, Karst said.

“We will give it our best shot and prepare like we normally do as if we were healthy, and hopefully when it’s match time, everybody will show up,” Rubio said.

Rubio signs three recruits

Arizona volleyball announced the signing of three players for the 2012-13 season on Tuesday.

Olivia Magill is a 6-foot-2 middle blocker from Seattle and one of the country’s top recruits.

“Olivia is one of the more high-profile kids in the country,” Rubio said. “Olivia is a freakish-type athlete — really gifted athletically and is also a pretty good volleyball player. We think she’s going to make a pretty good impact immediately.”

Emily Bemis, a 6-foot-2 outside hitter, apparently played hard-to-get with Arizona.

“I had to work the hardest I ever had to get her, because she originally didn’t want to come this far,” Rubio said of Bemis, who hails from Illinois. “She wanted to stay close to home. I really had to work long and hard to try and get her and finally we did.”

Bemis will likely become a major point scorer for the Wildcats, he said.

“With a big arm, she’s got enough power, speed and athleticism to compete and score in our league.”

The third recruit, 5-foot-11 Lauren Fuller, was initially committed to Santa Clara. The California setter just fell into Arizona’s lap, Rubio said.

“I think she will be a nice addition for us from a depth standpoint.”

These three recruits will fill the big shoes left by seniors Karst, Hanzlova and Cursty Jackson.

“I think those three, based on who we’re losing … will be good,” Rubio said. “We lose quite a bit of offense with Cursty and Courtney, and ball control and stability with Marketa.”

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