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Volleyball falls to No. 1 Huskies

CLAIRE C. LAURENCE/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA junior outiide hitter Kim Glass attempts a spike Saturday against top-ranked Washing†on in McKale Center.
By Lindsey Frazier
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, October 18, 2004
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UA splits home set with UW, Wazzu

The No. 22 Arizona volleyball team dominated one match this weekend, but was dominated in another as it defeated Washington State Friday before being brought down by No. 1 Washington Saturday.

The top-ranked Huskies triumphed over the Wildcats in four games (28-30, 22-30, 30-25, 24-30) Saturday.

Arizona (11-7, 3-5 Pacific 10 Conference) out-blocked Washington 10 to 6, but the Huskies overpowered the home team in hitting percentage (.270 to .242) and service aces (9 to 6).

"I was disappointed with the fact we let them dictate the match, instead us taking charge and getting to them and playing a little more aggressively," said UA head coach Dave Rubio. "It took a while to get us going emotionally. I never felt like we were in match emotionally until game three.

"I thought that our defense and our blocking was excellent," he added. "I thought Stephanie (Butkus) set a good match. I was disappointed with our serve receive, we didn't pass particularly well."

Junior and two-time All-American Kim Glass contributed a season- and match-high 28 kills in addition to 14 digs, three blocks and two service aces. Junior middle blocker Bre Ladd added 15 kills on .481 hitting and six blocks. Junior outside hitter Jennifer Abernathy earned her seventh double-double on the season with 13 kills and 13 digs. Sophomore setter Stephanie Butkus played all four matches and recorded 65 assists, seven digs and four blocks. Senior libero Kelli Mulvany earned a season-high 23 digs and three service aces.

"It's a little frustrating losing to a team that you think you're as good as, if not better," Rubio said. "The good news is that's the No .1-ranked team in the country. If that's the best team, then we're not that far away. But we still have some things that we have to work on."

The Wildcats swept the Cougars (30-18, 30-22, 30-19) Friday in front of 5,275 fans with basketball's Midnight Madness following the match.

Arizona topped Washington State in every major statistical category including hitting percentage (.343 to .129), kills (49 to 36), assists, (41 to 33), digs (34 to 32), blocks (7 to 6) and service aces (9 to 1).

"Washington State is a program in transition, and they've had a lot of not only coaching changes but changes in the program," Rubio said. "The coach has done a terrific job with what he has.

"Anytime that we have Midnight Madness, it's terrific for us," he continued.

"Tonight the only disappointing thing may have been that it wasn't great volleyball. A win's a win and of course our fans love it when Arizona wins, it doesn't matter what sport it is. But it would be nice to have a pretty active match."

Glass recorded 15 kills on .314 hitting and used her jump serve to notch a season-high four service aces. She also contributed four digs and three blocks to the win. Ladd boasted 12 kills on .429 hitting and four blocks. Butkus added 34 assists as Mulvany had a team-high 14 digs and four service aces.

"I think that it's easier to play teams that are good because you want to play so well," Ladd said. "I think it's harder, and it takes more concentration and focus to make sure that you take care of your side of the net against (a less competitive team)."

After weeks of varying lineups, Rubio said the team has now found the right balance on the court.

"Everything is real solidified now," he added. "There's no second-guessing, there's no wondering who's going to be playing in what position. Everyone knows where they're going - who's starting and who's going to be coming off the bench. And just that fact alone makes it a lot easier for us to be consistent and lends itself to more continuity. We're so talented physically, that once we kind of gain our confidence and get our feet underneath us, then I think we'll be in pretty good shape."

"I think it's a lot more comfortable out there on the court, which is nice because we've been playing with about 70 different lineups," Ladd agreed. "So it's kind of nice to have everybody comfortable in their positions."

Arizona will continue its homestand as it hosts Arizona State Friday at 7 p.m.

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