Arizona volleyball has weekend of matches to bounce back
Arizona indoor volleyball will look to bounce back this weekend after ending the last on a sour note.
The Wildcats won their first two matches to start the season but blew their first big opportunity against Kansas, losing 2-1.
This weekend won’t be easy for Arizona, as the team will start Friday at 7 p.m. against Butler, who is undefeated at 4-0. Junior outside hitter Belle Obert leads Butler with 52 kills.
Next, the Wildcats take on Eastern Kentucky — who, just like Butler, is undefeated at 4-0 — on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The Colonels are led by senior outside hitter Ashley Edmond, who has a team high 65 kills, and junior defensive specialist Dena Ott, who leads the team with 75 digs.
Arizona will finish the tournament with a match against Utah Valley at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Utah Valley appears to be the easiest match on the schedule for the Wildcats, as it is only 1-3 on the season.
Head coach Dave Rubio said he doesn’t think the team is quite where it needs to be.
“We haven’t looked as I’d like us to look,” Rubio said. “At this early stage of the season, I think that the things we’re trying to accomplish haven’t been lost, but I think we’re just not nearly as engaged in what I think we need to do.”
In volleyball, energy and communication are important in volleyball, and the team’s levels aren’t where they need to be, he added. However, yesterday’s practice was better.
“Sometimes we come in and we’re a little flat, not as intense as we need to be,” Rubio said.
Rubio said he knows the team is in for a tough challenge this weekend.
“I’ve been looking at Butler’s film, and they’re good — they’re really good,” he said. “They’re old, they have talent, and that’s always a dangerous combination.”
Arizona’s junior libero Ronni Lewis has a positive outlook on the season start.
“I think we’re on the right track,” Lewis said. “Obviously it was a tough loss, but you have to lose in order to gain some experience, and I think that opened our eyes as a whole [team].”
As a libero, Lewis’s specialty is defense.
“Defense goes in hand with blocking, and we’ve been working really hard on blocking,” he said. “If our block can be solid, then defense behind is pretty easy. I think we’re pretty competitive in that aspect of the game.”
This weekend’s performance will act as an indicator of where the team is at, compared to where the team wants and needs to be.
—Follow Derek Evans @DerekEvans20