Arizona volleyball has chance to upset Stanford
Arizona volleyball has already seen the toughest teams on its schedule, with No. 2 Stanford posing the biggest challenge. The Wildcats fell to the Cardinal on Sept. 28 in four sets (25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 25-18), but they will have another chance at an upset against the Cardinal on Wednesday night in Palo Alto, Calif.
In conference, the Wildcats have brought in wins from Arizona State, Utah, Colorado and Oregon State. In the second round of conference play, the Wildcats will try to sweep those teams.
“When we’re on the road we tend to fight a lot harder because we’re together all the time,” sophomore middle blocker Rachel Rhoades said. “I think our chemistry is a lot better and we’re forced to work together a lot more. I have high hopes for this weekend.”
Stanford has dominated the competition and is 10-0 in conference play, while the Wildcats go into the weekend with a 4-6 record, thanks to a five-game losing streak in September.
The last time the Wildcats and Cardinal faced off, Arizona was only able to steal one set from Stanford at McKale Center.
In last weekend’s win over Oregon State, despite the confidence boost, head coach Dave Rubio said he was disappointed with the lack of drive he saw in his team.
“This is not the type of effort level that you need to be a championship level team. The team unity and chemistry was non-existent,” Rubio said. “There’s some work to be done. We’re fortunate to walk out of the first round 4-6.”
The team chemistry was off, and the defense, which is usually Arizona’s best asset, looked out of sync. Sophomore outside hitter Madi Kingdon said the team that showed up against Oregon State will not have a chance against the more experienced Stanford.
“Just having it be an away game, we have to try that much harder to win on the road,” Kingdon said. “Like Dave said, our team chemistry is not great right now and people who watch our games can see that. We just need to figure that out.”
The Wildcats are on the road for the next week, first against Stanford today, then taking on the Cal Golden Bears on Friday at 6 p.m.
“If you’re going to play with the big boys you better act like you want to be there,” Rubio said. “You better act like you care about what you do out there, and take some pride in what you do.”