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Thursday October 5, 2000

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Saragosa leading with fiery attitude

Headline Photo

By Kamy Shaygan

Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA travels to Pacific Northwest to face UO, OSU

Prior to last Friday's record breaking match against Stanford, there was one Wildcat sitting alone on the bench focusing, while the rest of her team was all smiles on the court warming up - sophomore middle blocker Stefani Saragosa.

"I've always been really intense," Saragosa said. "I know before games I get extremely nervous, and it's almost an excited nervous. It's like, let's get it on."

Not only did the No. 7 Wildcats defeat Stanford and California last weekend in dominating fashion, they broke a school record with 11 consecutive victories.

Although Saragosa, who is second in the Pacific 10 Conference with a .416 attacking percentage, finished the Stanford game with only seven kills, it was the fashion in which she got them that was impressive.

"One of the things she brings for us, is she is fiery and emotional and has a good competitive spirit about her," Arizona head coach David Rubio said.

Saragosa's competitive attitude has played a vital role this season in the success of the Wildcats.

"Her intensity is so awesome and she adds that edge to the team that we didn't have," senior outside hitter Allison Napier said. "She completes our middle beautifully."

With Saragosa's solid play recently, the Wildcats (11-1 overall, 3-0 Pac-10) will seek to extend their 12-game winning streak this weekend as they travel to Oregon to take on Oregon State and the University of Oregon (7-6, 0-5).

Although Oregon State (11-4, 3-2) is not ranked in the top-25, the Beavers are highly dangerous as they knocked off No. 8 UCLA on the road last weekend at the Pauley Pavillion.

"I think we have all we can handle considering the momentum they are carrying from last weekend," Rubio said. "Oregon State is very good."

Saragosa plans on bringing her intensity with her this weekend despite the fact that neither team is ranked in the top-25 of the AVCA/USA Today poll.

"I don't think it's going to be cake," Saragosa said. "We can't underestimate anybody in our conference. I think that's what UCLA did. I think we're concentrating really hard on no matter who is on the other side of the net."

Arizona shouldn't be battling a letdown either this weekend after the team capped a solid week of practice off yesterday.

"We have had the best week of practice since we have started," Rubio said. "I was pleased with the intensity level and the concentration. From my point of view, it helps us going into this weekend."