By Arlie Rahn
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Through its hard work against UCLA and USC this weekend, the UA women's volleyball team managed to ascend four spots to No. 12 in the Tachikara/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll.
The Pacific 10 Conference is well represented in the poll, with Stanford at No. 1, the Bruins at No. 3, the Wildcats at No. 12, Southern Cal at No. 13, Arizona State at No. 15, Washington State at No. 20 and Oregon State at No. 25.
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As Arizona continues to climb the Tachikara/AVCA poll, junior setter Laura Bartsch remains an unknown force for the Wildcats. In the two matches this weekend, she tallied 115 assists and hit an impressive .308. But the setter does much more than most people realize.
"The setter is like the quarterback," UA coach David Rubio said. "She will touch the ball 99.9 percent of the time, and decide who will hit the ball. And Laura understands that this is her role."
Bartsch's season took an exciting turn when she recorded 95 assists at the Pacific Tournament and moved past former Wildcat Lindsey Hahn for third place on the Arizona career assist chart with 2,339.
Added Bartsch: "It feels good to have my name in the books. My goal is to be the leader in career assists."
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No. 1 Stanford (8-0 overall, 2-0 in the Pac-10) continues its rampage through the conference. They have swept every opponent but No. 7 Florida, who they beat in four games. And amidst the big names like Cary Wendell and Marnie Triefenbach has arisen a star in waiting, freshman Kristin Folkl.
"Kristin brings size, strength, speed and quickness to our team," said Stanford coach Don Shaw. "She is a total package."
As of the first eight games, the 6-foot-2 basketball and volleyball star has destroyed any doubts that critics of this highly-recruited St. Louis native might have had about her game. She is leading the Cardinal in three offensive categories: kills (94), kills per game (4.7) and hitting percentage (.410). In addition, she was named MVP of the Illini/Pepsi Classic, where she hit .314 with a match-high 18 kills and six blocks against finals opponent, No. 18 New Mexico.
"Kristin does not play like your average freshman, but she is still just learning the game," Shaw said. "She could take her play to another level if she decided to concentrate solely on volleyball."
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