Sand volleyball hosts Arizona Christian and Tulane
Head coach Steve Walker has high expectations for the Arizona sand volleyball team, and despite winning all three of its matches in its inaugural debut last weekend, there is always room to improve.
“You take a little bit of time to evaluate what transpired over the course of the matches after looking at the film,” Walker said. “We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t pick out a few things that we could work on and get a little better at. But in general, the performance was great.”
The first year head coach said he was pleased with the Wildcats’(3-0) passing. Improving in side-out opportunities was one major aspect of the game to take away from the film that players corrected at practice this week.
“I feel at practice we were pretty good at putting up a good side out percentage and not having the ball be returned,” Walker said. “I think with the intensity increased, the rallies were a little more ramped up with a live completion, and that [first pass] is something we can improve on.”
Senior Emily Kiser passes the ball during Arizona' defeat to Grand Canyon University, 3-2, at the Arizona Sand Volleyball Courts on Saturday. The team will compete in the Wildcat Spring Challenge on Friday against Arizona Christian and on Saturday against Tulane.
Those improvements will be put to the test this weekend as Arizona hosts the Wildcat Spring Challenge tournament. The Wildcats first play Arizona Christian at 2 p.m. Friday and then Tulane at noon on Saturday.
Arizona should have no problem against Arizona Christian as the Wildcats won all five matches easily against the Firestorm last weekend.
Tulane will present a tougher match-up, however. The Green Wave is in its third season of intercollegiate competition and return eight of the 12 players from last year’s squad that finished 10th in the 2013 final American Volleyball Coaches Association Poll.
The Arizona coaches did not have a chance this week to look at Tulane’s film since teams are not giving out the scouting report to their opponents yet. But that won’t be a problem for Walker and the coaches coaching staff as the rules allow teams to scout opponents during tournaments.
“The film and video exchange is not yet as formal as the other established sports in the NCAA,” Walker said. “It will be nice though to have a chance to scout Tulane in person, and I expect them to be very similar from a competitive standpoint like Grand Canyon and Arizona State. They have high-level athletes that have been playing this game for quite a while.”
Walker was very pleased with the squad being relatively ‘low error’ last weekend, and hopes that strong point will carry over into this weekend’s tournament.
“From an attacking standpoint I like that,” Walker said of the Wildcats’ 104 total errors last weekend. “If we can keep our error percentage down between the 10 and 15 percentage, that would be acceptable. It’s a goal that we have established heading into our games, and we need to be mindful and not make the reckless or careless errors.”
After this weekend’s games, Arizona will play in the Hawaii Tournament that starts Wednesday. The team will play at least three games, two against USC and one verse Hawaii before pool-play begins.
—Follow Tyler Keckeisen @tyler_keckeisen