Volleyball shuts down California

By Lindsey Frazier
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, October 17, 2005

The No. 12 Arizona volleyball team proved that McKale Madness wasn't the only in-house entertainment Friday night, as the Wildcats swept No. 13 California in McKale Center before 6,189 fans.

The Wildcats (14-2, 6-1 Pacific 10 Conference) out-hit the Golden Bears (13-4, 6-2) .242 to .162 en route to a 30-24, 30-27, 30-28 victory.

Arizona was out-blocked 8.5-8 but dished out eight service aces compared to Cal's three.

Wildcats head coach Dave Rubio said that despite the sweep, the team's intensity wasn't as evident as it was Thursday night in a five-game victory over No. 3 Stanford.

"My focus tonight was just about grinding it out. I said, 'It may not be pretty tonight, but we're going to compete and we're going to get the job done.'" he said.

Rubio said the match was not well played on either side of the court.

"They just weren't as sharp as I really thought they were going to be," Rubio said of Cal. "They missed a ton of serves. I think that's probably uncharacteristic of their team."

Junior middle blocker Kristina Baum tallied 11 kills and eight digs, while sophomore setter Amy Dyck collected 35 assists.

Freshman libero Brittany Leonard recorded a team-high 14 digs.

Rubio said the team's main concern has changed from fixing poor setting to improving team passing.

"We're not putting the ball into scoring position for us," he said. "The number 1 (priority) without question, far and ahead, is our passing. We've got to get better with that. We're just losing too many points and not scoring enough points."

"I'm obviously not where I need to be talentwise and (with) technique," Dyck said. "When our passing is on, it makes my job a lot easier."

Senior outside hitter Jennifer Abernathy was limited by her shin splints after she played in matches on consecutive days.

Despite her condition, she recorded a team-high 12 kills and nine digs.

"I was playing through pain, but it's really nothing new," Abernathy said. "I go through the same thing every game, and I try not to focus on it. I think (playing consecutive days) took a lot out of all of us."

While Arizona played Friday in a sub-par fashion similar to that in its loss to Cal in 2002, which followed the Wildcats' most recent win over Stanford before Thursday, senior outside hitter Kim Glass said the team has a different mentality this season.

"Right now, we're so good, and we expect to beat these teams," said Glass, who recorded 10 kills and seven digs. "That year, I don't know how much we actually expected (to beat those teams)."

"I think this year we are so much more mentally tough," Abernathy said.

The Wildcats face off against two more ranked Pac-10 opponents this weekend, as they hit the road to take on No. 22 UCLA and No. 17 USC Friday and Saturday, respectively.