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News
Volleyball swept in Northwest


By James Kelley
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday September 22, 2003

For a program as talented as the Arizona volleyball team, going winless on a road trip would normally be as bleak as the Pacific Northwest weather.

But despite being knocked down by Pacific 10 Conference foes Washington and Washington State over the weekend, the Wildcats are able to take some positives from the weekend's road trip.

The No. 16 Wildcats (6-6, 0-2 Pac-10) opened up conference play with a 3-1 loss at Washington State (5-6, 2-0) Thursday night, followed by a 3-2 setback the next day in Seattle against No. 14 Washington (11-0, 2-0). Against the Huskies, though, the UA did bounce back after trailing 2-0 going into halftime to force a fifth game.

"It was kind of a tale of two matches for us," head coach Dave Rubio said. "In the Washington State match, we didn't play well, but I thought serving both nights was good."

Against UW, the Wildcats dropped the first two games 22-30, 18-30 before coming back in the next two 30-25, 30-24. The Wildcats eventually fell in the final game, 10-15.

The win was Washington's 11th straight a school record for the Huskies.

"We just weren't sharp against Washington State," Rubio said. "Against Washington, we were down 0-2 and came back, but our passing broke down in the fifth game and it wasn't really close. We are just not executing at a high enough level to beat those kinds of teams, but I know it will come around."

Despite eventually losing, Rubio said the comeback against Washington was similar to the third match of the season, in which the Wildcats upset No. 5 Pepperdine in Malibu.

"It showed a little bit of backbone for the first time, other than at Pepperdine," Rubio said.

Freshman setter Stephanie Butkus had 47 assists against Washington and 51 against the Cougars.

"I thought Stephanie set well," Rubio said. "There were certainly some bright spots."

Rubio was not satisfied with how the UA played in the match with WSU, feeling it was a result of a week of sub-par practices.

"I was disappointed with the Washington State match," he said. "We just didn't show up to play. It was just a matter of practicing better. Matches are typically won before they are played."

The Wildcats return to action this Friday at Arizona State (5-6, 0-2), a team that also lost to both Washington State, 3-1, and Washington, 3-0, over the weekend.

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