By Kristen Davis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 13, 1997

Volleyball team's best not enough

For the first time this season volleyball coach Dave Rubio praised his team's match performance.

"All season I've been talking about how bad we've been playing but I was really pleased with our play this weekend," he said.

"Michelle (Fanger) played her best night of the season. Michaela (Ebben) set her best game (recording 57 assists)."

The Wildcats were unable to pull off the upset, however, and dropped a four-set match to fourth-ranked Stanford on the road. They swept Cal the next evening and returned to Tucson with a 12-3 record overall, 4-3 in the Pacific 10 Conference.

Arizona became the first team in the conference to take a game from the Cardinal (15-2, 6-0).

"It was the best effort we've had in my career here at their place. It was one of the first times I thought we should have won," Rubio said.

Stanford, the defending national champions, won, 15-11, 15-12, 11-15, 15-8.

"It was really close," senior Carrie Penfield said. "It's disappointing we didn't beat them. They got off lucky. We had a lead in every game but never finished the game."

Four players posted double-digit kills against Stanford. Penfield and Fanger led Arizona with 15 each.

"As a team we had a real balanced attack. We shook up Stanford a little bit," Penfield said.

In the end, however, the Cardinal's one-two punch of All-Americans Kristin Folkl and Kerri Walsh, who combined for 45 kills, was too much.

"We lost a couple of points in a row and weren't able to sustain the (high) level except in the third game," Rubio said.

All week Rubio stressed the importance of not placing too much energy in the Stanford match. After all, it's easy to overlook Cal. They went into the match with a 1-5 conference mark and had lost seven of its last eight matches.

"We were very determined to just take care of business and pretty much asserted our will on them," Penfield said.

Arizona trampled the Golden Bears in its easiest conference match of the season, taking just 80 minutes to hand them a 15-7, 15-5, 15-10 loss.

"We sustained the level into the Cal match, allowing us to beat them in three (games)," Rubio said. "It was good to get out and beat someone in three."

Penfield led the way once again, as she tallied a match-high 11 kills.

Junior Keisha Johnson may have been the brightest spot of the weekend. The middle blocker opened the weekend with her first start of the season and proceeded to start all remaining matches. She recorded 11 kills in 30 attacks, two blocks and served four aces against the Cardinal.

Johnson, who played at the net while senior Stephanie Venne took her place in the back row, followed the performance with a .471 hitting percentage (8 kills, zero errors, 17 attacks) and chipped in three aces and four blocks against Cal.

"This weekend was the best weekend we've played," Rubio said. "We were consistent. It's not a matter of people hitting harder or blocking more balls. It's consistency and fundamental areas."

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