By Brian Penso
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday September 4, 2002
Senior setter adjusts to new offensive sytem after off-season transfer to UA
Laurie Gardner and Jason Johnson might not have much in common, but in their respective sports they have similar jobs.
Gardner's job as the setter for the UA women's volleyball team is to pass the ball around the court similar to what Johnson's is on the football field as UA quarterback.
Just like for a quarterback, a new system for the transfer from Indiana might take time for her to learn ¸ and UA volleyball head coach David Rubio realizes that.
"When (UA football head coach John Mackovic) came in, Jason Johnson's head was swimming with information in the new style of offense," Rubio said. "As the season went on Jason adjusted and became comfortable in the offense. Everytime Laurie steps on the court she will get a better grasp of the way our offense is run," he said.
Rubio is hoping that comes soon.
Gardner came to Tucson in the off-season from Indiana and is still becoming accustomed to Rubio's offensive strategy and plays that he runs.
"Playing in a game really helped me," Gardner said.
"I have been watching a lot of tapes from last year trying to learn as much as possible. Right now the team has good chemistry on the court and it is just a matter of being on the same page every play."
Gardner has big shoes to fill in 2002 as she replaces two-time All-American setter Dana Burkholder.
The Wildcats still feel that they have enough talent to replace Burkholder and the reason for the stumble against Louisville over the weekend was clear among players and coaches ¸ they were just very inconsistent.
The UA volleyball team lost its first match to an unranked opponent in over three years when they fell to Louisville 3-0 over the weekend.
UA's (2-1) inconsistencies and mental breakdowns began with its serving game.
In its match with the Cardinals, the No. 11 Wildcats committed 12 service errors, which gave Louisville 12 free points.
"We need to definitely work on our serving," UA freshman outside hitter Kim Glass said.
"Our serving was inconsistent and we just could not get into a rhythm. If we can improve our serving, we will be a much better team."
Glass added she needs to improve her serving game as she committed a team-high five service errors against Louisville.
Currently, the Wildcats have five seniors on their team, but at the same time they have five freshmen, who lack NCAA experience.
With No. 2 Nebraska and 14th ranked Pepperdine coming to Tucson this weekend, Gardner said serving will need to improve, but she looks for an improvement to happen over the course of the season due to the youth of the Wildcats.
"With the scoring system giving teams points on service errors, we cannot afford to give away so many points," Gardner said. "Service errors are part of the game, but if we can cut our errors in half, it will put us that much closer to winning."
Besides serving, Arizona committed 18 attack errors in its loss to Louisville, which Rubio credits to the team's youth and little game time experience with each other.
"I expected that we would have a match like we had against Louisville," Rubio said. "We were inconsistent in every aspect of our game and we made so many unforced errors. We never got into a rhythm and that was frustrating. However, I was prepared for it."