By Sam Spiller
Arizona Daily Wildcat September 4, 1996
The Arizona women's volleyball team swept all three opponents it faced last weekend in the Arizona State Invitational, the team's first tournament of the year.
Arizona (3-0 overall, 0-0 in the Pacific 10 Conference) played the Wright State Raiders and the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Friday, and the 21st-ranked Northern Iowa Panthers on Saturday.
"I was pleased with our performance," UA head coach Dave Rubio said.
Rubio's modesty won't last long if the Wildcats keep winning like they did in Tempe. They took the floor Friday morning against the Lumberjacks and disposed of them 15-10, 15-6, 15-4. Outside hitter Barb Bell led the Wildcats with 16 kills and setter Michaela Ebben, in her first start, had 34 assists. Outside hitter Michelle Fanger and Bell each had 11 digs.
In the evening Arizona took on the Raiders, repeating the straight-game victory 15-5, 15-9, 16-14. Bell led the team with 17 kills and 13 digs. Ebben had a career-best 43 assists and 11 digs.
"We were rough around the edges at times, and we executed well at times," Rubio said.
Saturday afternoon, Arizona swept Northern Iowa 15-4, 15-3, 15-6 in a match that was never close. Leading the Wildcats were Bell with 17 kills and Ebben with 24 assists. Rubio said he was happy with the play of Bell, Ebben and Fanger.
"Barb's been through all the wars," Rubio said. "Michaela was a little erratic in her first start but she got better as the tournament progressed. I was pleased with the level of competitiveness of Michelle."
The real surprise was the blocking of the Wildcats, who totaled 54 blocks in the tournament, compared to 30 for their opponents. Middle blocker Stephanie Venne led the team with 11 total blocks.
"Our blocking was exceptional," Rubio said.
The coaching staff decided against playing Arizona State before Pacific 10 Conference play. The two teams will meet Oct. 11 in Tempe.