By Lindsey Frazier
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 7, 2005
The No. 12 Arizona volleyball team visits its neighbors to the north today when the Wildcats trek up Interstate 10 to meet ASU at 7 p.m. in Tempe.
Arizona head coach Dave Rubio said that although the Sun Devils (6-8, 1-3 Pacific 10 Conference) do not boast a winning record, ASU has its best squad in recent years.
"This is a much better team," he said. "This is the best team they've had in a while. Even though their record doesn't reflect how good they are, I think they're a pretty good team."
He added that while the two teams match up well, ASU uses a quicker offense than Arizona (11-2, 3-1 Pac-10).
"I think they're going to cause us some problems because of the type of offense they have," he said. "I think we're a little bit more physical on the pins than they are. (But) they're pretty talented in the middle, and they have a very good setter."
The ASU defense is led by sophomore libero Sydney Donahue, who leads the Pac-10 with 6.5 digs per game. Redshirt senior setter Giovana Melo averages a team-high 8.83 assists per game.
Arizona senior outside hitter and two-time All-American Kim Glass said that while the Wildcats are a greater threat on the court, they can't take the Sun Devils for granted.
"Athletically, I think we got them beat," said Glass, who leads the Arizona offense with 4.55 kills per game in addition to 3.12 digs per game. "I think they have really good defense, and they have a lot of heart. I think that's one thing we can't take lightly at all."
Arizona at ASU
7 p.m. today
Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe
The rivalry between the two teams has been fairly even, with the Wildcats holding a 34-33 edge over the Sun Devils. In their last meeting Nov. 19, the Wildcats swept the Sun Devils in Wells Fargo Arena.
"My hope is that players don't take it for granted because we've beaten them the last couple years," Rubio said.
Arizona moved up one spot in the American Volleyball Coaches Association/College Sports Television coaches poll this week despite being swept by No. 2 Washington Saturday in Seattle. The Wildcats swept Washington State the night before in Pullman, Wash.
The Sun Devils lost to both Washington and Washington State, getting swept by the Huskies and falling in four games to the Cougars.
Glass said she enjoys the Arizona-ASU rivalry and competing in front of ASU fans.
"There's lots of fans. They're really excited, really rowdy," she said. "I know a lot of us really enjoy it. It's way more fun when you have that many fans."
After playing in back-to-back away tournaments in September and spending last weekend visiting the Washington schools, Rubio said he is grateful that Arizona will be competing in just a single match this weekend.
"I think everyone's looking forward to getting two days off on Saturday and Sunday," he said. "I think we could all use it physically, and I think mentally just to get some time away and give (the players) more balance in their life. It's a good time of the year for us to have (this game)."
The game will air tape-delayed on Fox Sports Net Sunday at 1 p.m.