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Volleyball notes: Cats hope to earn high seed in NCAA tourney

Jacob Konst/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Sophomore setter Amy Dyck sets the ball during the win against ASU on Friday. Dyck has established herself in the setter role in the absence of injured junior Stephanie Butkus.
By Lindsey Frazier
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 9, 2005
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With only three weeks remaining in the regular season, Arizona volleyball head coach Dave Rubio said it's crucial for the No. 6 Wildcats to remain humble and not get caught up in the distractions that surround a nationally ranked team.

"We've got to keep our eye on the ball now and not read our own press clippings and get too high and mighty on ourselves," Rubio said. "It's critical that we kind of stay blue-collar for me."

Arizona has reached the postseason nine consecutive seasons and 20 times overall. Last season, the Wildcats swept UC-Irvine before falling in the second round to San Diego in five games.

"We've got to take care of business," Rubio said. "Our fate is in our own hands right now, and we know that, so we got to do what we can do to control our own fate and put ourselves in a position to get the highest seed we can get, whatever that is."

Dyck continues to show signs of improvement

Rubio said that sophomore setter Amy Dyck has really come into her own in the last several weeks.

"Amy is evolving, and the better Amy gets, the better this team will be," he said. "The better the setter is, the better your team is going to be. A bad setter can make a great team a mediocre team. That's the difference."

Dyck recorded 40 assists in Arizona's sweep over in-state rival ASU on Friday night and ranks third in assists per game (14.0) in Pac-10 matches.

She said she is still learning various aspects of setting, including when to set the ball and when to attempt a kill herself.

"As that starts to make more sense, it's a lot easier to just put the ball down and have nobody be there to get it up," she said.

Newcomers battle for starting libero role

Freshman Brittany Leonard and sophomore transfer Katie Jackels are competing for playing time as the team's staring libero.

While the two have been in the running for the spot throughout the season, Rubio said the competition is becoming even more intense.

"Jackels is on (Leonard's) heels," he said. "She's on the heels. It's a close race right now. Katie played great (against Washington and Washington State). Brittany knows that Katie's breathing down her neck.

"It's a win-win (situation) obviously for the program because both of them have really improved quite a bit, and we need them to be great," he added. "And we need both of those kids to be great. That's one of those pieces you have to have, to have a championship-level team."

Jackels is averaging 1.89 digs in 35 games, while Leonard is contributing a team-high 3.95 digs per game in 63 games.

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