ASU up next for Wildcats

By Sam Spiller
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 11, 1996

Last year the Arizona volleyball team was nursing a disappointing 6-11 conference record when it went to Tempe to face the Sun Devils.

This year Arizona (12-4) is 3-3 in the conference and fresh off a victory over No. 11 UCLA. The Wildcats may be playing the Sun Devils in Tempe once again, but that is where the similarities stop.

The match against ASU (7-5 overall, 2-4 in the Pacific 10 Conference) is not the only highlight of the weekend. Sunday, the Wildcats play an exhibition match against the U.S. National Team at McKale Center. This will be the last game for the national team, so Arizona can expect the hardest match it has played all season. For some players it will be their hardest match ever.

"It's always a great match when we play each other," UA head coach Dave Rubio said. "One of the things for us is that we need to spread around the ball and get everyone in the game."

Sunday's match will be the last of a six-school tour for the U.S. Team. It will take place at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $8, $5 for seniors, students and faculty. The match will be broadcast live on KAMP student radio.

Arizona State dropped out of the rankings a few weeks ago and lost both matches last weekend against Southern Cal and UCLA. Despite their low spot in the standings, the Sun Devils are among the nation's leaders in three of the six team categories. ASU ranks eighth in team kills with 17.12 kills per game, No. 10 in team assists with 15.06 assists per game and No. 5 in team digs with 19.57 digs per game.

The Sun Devils are led by junior outside hitter Terri Cox, third in the nation in kills with 5.94 per game. She is also first in digs, averaging five per game. Cox has totaled 232 kills and 212 digs for the season.

The Sun Devils won both matches last season and lead the overall series 28-19. ASU has won 12 of the last 13 meetings.

The Wildcats will look to put the past behind them. With arguably their best team ever, they are in a position to beat Arizona State.

The Wildcats will need strong play from the left side outside hitters, Barb Bell and Heidi Bomberger, in order to play well against the Sun Devils. The Wildcats should also continue to be deep as injuries to Carolyn Penfield and Michelle Fanger will not keep them out of action this weekend.

"Barb carries so much weight on our team," Rubio said. "She'll always be our go-to player."

While beating ASU may be conceivable, beating the U.S. National Team may be another matter entirely.

The national team includes former Wildcat Caren Kemner, who played at the UA from 1983-1984. Kemner was a third team All-America in 1984 and has played on three straight Olympic teams.

"It is a great honor for us to have been chosen as one of just six schools the national team will visit on its tour," Rubio said. "It's a once in a lifetime experience for our players to face the best in the country. Plus we're all excited about Caren returning to play in Tucson again."