By Ron Parsons
Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Arizona women's volleyball team, which dropped two matches to the Los Angeles schools last weekend, fell four spots in this week's USA TODAY/AVCA Top 25 poll.
Entering last weekend's Pacific 10 Conference matches against UCLA and Southern Cal, the Wildcats were ranked 12th nationally. But after losing to the Bruins in straight sets and being upset by the Trojans in four, Arizona (12-5 overall, 4-5 in the Pac-10) dropped in the poll to 16th.
"We just never got on track, never got into a rhythm," Arizona coach Dave Rubio said. "Fundamentally, we just did not do the right things last weekend."
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The Pac-10, which has placed as many as seven teams in the national top 25 this season, had six in this week's poll, including four in the top 10.
Stanford (14-2) was the conference's highest-rated team, remaining at No. 4. The Washington State Cougars (16-1) also did not move in the poll, remaining at No. 5.
The Arizona State Sun Devils (12-3), coming off a sweep of the Los Angeles schools, jumped five spots to claim the country's No. 9 ranking. After a split with the Arizona schools, the UCLA Bruins dropped one spot to No. 10.
Rounding out the poll were Arizona and USC. The Trojans, who also split with the Arizona schools, remained at No. 17.
Washington, ranked 23rd in last week's poll, dropped out of the top 25 after being swept by the Oregon schools.
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Heading into the second half of the Pac-10 season, no one has been able to keep pace with defending NCAA champion Stanford. The Cardinal, who host the Los Angeles schools this weekend, are 9-0 in conference play.
Washington State, 8-1 in the conference, continues to hold on to second place. Arizona State broke a four-way tie for third place last week, moving to 6-3 to claim sole possession of third.
UCLA and USC, both 5-4 in the Pac-10, share fourth place. UA is sixth and California (3-6) is seventh. Oregon State and Washington are tied for eighth at 2-7 in conference play. The Oregon Ducks, at 1-7, are last.
Stanford and Washington State, Rubio said, remain the teams to beat.
"Until somebody actually knocks those teams off, they're the teams you have to look at," he said.
Rubio also said the second half of the Pac-10 season should be interesting.
"It's still very tight. It's anyone ballgame," he said. "It's going to be interesting to see how it all plays out over the next four weeks."
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ASU's Christine Garner was named last week's Pac-10 player of the week.
A senior outside hitter, Garner led the Sun Devils to a sweep of UCLA and USC last weekend. The victory over the Bruins was ASU's first since 1987, and its first ever in Westwood.
Garner, a 6-foot All-America candidate from Tustin, Calif., posted 47 kills in the two matches, and added 25 digs and five solo blocks. She averaged 4.7 kills over the two matches and recorded double-doubles in both as well.
A member of the U.S. National Team from January to May, Garner had more to celebrate than just the wins. Saturday against USC, she became ASU's career kills leader, surpassing former Sun Devil Tammy Webb (83-86).
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