By Arlie Rahn
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." This was the philosophy of the Arizona women's volleyball team in Saturday night's matchup against Sacramento State.
With this in mind, the 17th-ranked Wildcats (10-8 overall, 5-7 in the Pacific 10 Conference) made quick work of the Hornets (14-8), winning in three games, 15-12, 15-11, 15-12.
The win broke Arizona's three-match losing streak and gave the Wildcats a much-needed victory. UA coach David Rubio said during a post-game interview that this is why these non-conference games are scheduled.
"The important part of the season is that you're over .500," Rubio said. "So, many of the Pac-10 teams schedule non-conference games with the idea in mind of getting some W's because of the strength of our conference."
Although Sacramento State was not of the caliber of a UCLA or a Southern Cal, it still gave Arizona some problems. In the first game the Hornets jumped to a 7-3 lead over the more talented Wildcat team. But after Rubio inserted junior setter Laura Bartsch in the lineup, Arizona regrouped and fought back to tie the game 9-9. After that, it was all Arizona. Even with a few questionable calls, the Wildcats still managed to hold off the persistent Sacramento State team and win 15-12.
"It was a different experience coming into the game than starting, but I knew what I had to do," Bartsch said of her quick insertion into the game. "But it was exciting because I hadn't done it yet this year."
The Wildcats again played catchup in the second and third games, and were down 5-0 at one point in the second, and 8-12 at one point in the third. But this team did something it did not do earlier in the week against ASU Ä it fought back. In game two they scored six unanswered points and took the lead 6-5. In the third game the Wildcats again went on a run, scoring seven in a row and winning 15-12.
"We were down in all three games, and I was pleased with the way we responded in each of those situations," Rubio said. "Those were the adversities that I was
talking about after the ASU game. And that is important for our development in the season."
Barb Bell led the Wildcats with 15 kills, and Melissa Ferris added 12 kills and a .308 hitting percentage. But Charita Johnson and Bartsch had total efforts for Arizona. Johnson had 10 kills, hit .300, and recorded seven total blocks. Bartsch hit .714, and finished with 34 assists and 13 digs.
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