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Volleyball regroups in ╬Classic'

DAVID HARDEN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA volleyball players Angie Ayers and Jolene Killough attempt a block against Rhode Island in the Sheraton 4-points Arizona Invitational.
By James Kelley
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday September 8, 2003

Wildcats sweep Miami and Rhode Island at Wildcat Classic, reach .500

After dropping its first two home matches, the Arizona volleyball team moved back over .500 with sweeps of Miami and Rhode Island.

The No. 10 Wildcats (4-3) rebounded with sweeps of Miami (5-2), 32-30, 30-18, 30-28 and Rhode Island (1-6) 30-17, 30-26, 30-24 on Friday and Saturday, to close out the Four Points University Plaza Wildcat Classic.

Against the Hurricanes, the UA improved its serving, with six aces compared to nine errors ¸ much better than in their two home losses. The performance enabled the Wildcats to sustain rallies. Head coach Dave Rubio likened the stat to football's interception to touchdown ratio, noting that a ratio of high aces to low errors is more desirable.

"That alone made a pretty big difference for us," Rubio said. "I told our players our goal was after we earn the one point to not end the rally by making a service error."

Arizona clipped the Hurricanes in hitting percentage, 330 to .155; blocks, nine to three; and digs, 45 to 31. Miami, sitting just outside the top-25 entering the weekend's matchups, was a Sweet 16 participant last year.

The Wildcats also shut down the 2002 Big East Player of the Year, Valeria Tipiana, who had just seven kills after averaging 23 per match in the tourney.

Sophomore outside hitter Kim Glass, led the way for the UA against Miami, posting a double-double with a season-high 24 kills and 15 digs, and had a .422 hitting percentage, all three match-highs. Freshman setter Stephanie Butkus had 45 assists and nine digs.

"I thought we played well; I thought that Stephanie was real good today (Friday). She was a little bit more relaxed today, and I thought she commanded the offense better," Rubio said.

Unlike Thursday's losses to San Diego State and No. 20 Santa Clara, the Wildcats were able to hold onto early leads in games. Glass felt that it was because of a "drastic" difference in serving.

"I think this time when it came down to it, there were times at the end of the game when it was crucial; we made some errors but it wasn't as bad as last time," Glass said. "I think serving was much better."

Rubio was pleased that the UA was able to take care of the undermanned Rams after playing Miami and get the chance to give some of the bench more playing time, such as outside hitter Meghan Cumpston. Cumpston redshirted last year and was the 34th-ranked freshman..

"I thought that it was nice to be able to play other players; I've been anxious about getting Meghan Cumpston in the lineup because she's really close to being a full time starter and because the matches have been so competitive," Rubio said. "I haven't gotten chance to really plug her in yet and she needs the playing time."

After lining up mostly just at defensive specialist, junior Cassidy Crum spelled the regular libero. Junior Kelli Mulvany and freshman Tyler Bowman, who had played mostly at setter, also donned a different color jersey later in the match.

"I'm glad I got a chance to play some of the different liberos. Tyler Bowman and Cassidy got a chance; it was good to see them in that role," Rubio said. "It was good for us to play that kind of match and get a chance to change some things up."

On Friday, the Wildcats return to action with their other tournament, the Arizona Invitational hosting New Mexico State at 10 a.m. and No. 7 UC Santa Barbara at 7:30 p.m.

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