By Lindsey Frazier
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, September 20, 2004
Timing is everything.
The No. 15 Arizona volleyball team (8-2) knows that all too well as it won the American University Classic championship, defeating American, Temple and Albany to extend its winning streak to six matches.
"I think out of the three tournaments (this season), this was probably the least competitive of the three," said UA head coach Dave Rubio. "But with the lineup changes, the timing was good. It was nice to win three without Meghan (Cumpston) or Kim (Glass). It is frustrating with Meghan and Kim out of the lineup. We're still not as smooth as we would like to be because we have to move people around and that's awkward for people sometimes."
Junior outside hitter Kim Glass will be competing with the team for the remainder of the season - just in time for Pacific 10 Conference play, which begins next week.
"I can't say anything about (Kim's condition) except that she has been cleared by the doctor," Rubio said. "Monday will be her first full day back, so that is great news for us. The problem she is having will be taken care after the season."
Sophomore setter Stephanie Butkus was named the tournament's most valuable player after she averaged 12.2 assists, 1.6 kills, 1.4 blocks and 1.3 digs over the weekend. Junior outside hitter Jennifer Abernathy - who competed in only two of the three matches - and sophomore opposite hitter Kristina Baum also made the all-tournament team. Abernathy contributed 5.1 kills, 3.4 digs, 0.5 blocks and 0.6 service aces per game while Baum averaged 3.3 kills on .526 hitting, 1 dig, 0.9 blocks and 0.5 service aces throughout the tournament.
Arizona overpowered Albany in the final match of the tournament Saturday afternoon in four games, 30-20, 30-18, 26-30 and 30-28. The Wildcats out-hit the Great Danes .273 to .186 and led them in blocks (12.5-7), kills (69-52) and assists (60-49).
Abernathy added her second double-double in as many games with 21 kills, 12 digs and three service aces while senior middle blocker Jolene Killough recorded 16 kills and three blocks. Baum added 13 kills and five digs to the Arizona win while junior middle blocker Bre Ladd supplied 12 kills, five digs, four blocks and three service aces.
The Wildcats breezed past the Temple Owls in three games (30-25, 31-29, 30-23) Saturday morning without the aid of offensive veteran Abernathy, who sat out the match with sore shins.
"She is in a lot of pain, so we're trying to limit her," Rubio said. "She'll probably take Monday off, practice Tuesday and then leave Wednesday for San Francisco. We are trying to conserve her as much as we can."
Despite their irregular lineup, the Wildcats logged a season-high hitting percentage of .421 and out-blocked the Owls 11-6.
On Friday, Arizona swept host American (30-22, 30-24, 30-23) in the opening match of the tournament. The Wildcats combined to out-hit the Eagles .311 to .088 and out-block American 14-2.
The Wildcats open Pac-10 play at No. 13 Stanford Friday at 7 p.m. Conference play continues Saturday at 7 p.m. against No. 14 California.