Sand volleyball travels to Phoenix
Arizona sand volleyball looks to end its two-match losing skid when it plays Grand Canyon on Friday at noon, with another match at 2:30 p.m. against Nebraska.
Both matches will be held in Phoenix at Grand Canyon University.
Arizona (5-2) won a close 3-2 match against Grand Canyon in their first match-up, earlier this month.
The Wildcats have yet to play Nebraska this season, but did get a glimpse of how the Cornhuskers perform in pairs competition in Hawaii last weekend. One of Nebraska’s duos finished first overall.
McKenna Witt (21) and Madison Witt (23) won 21-12, 21-12 in Arizona's 5-0 win over the Green Wave on March 15 at home. The Wildcats will put their undefeated record in Arizona on the line this weekend at Grand Canyon.
After team play ends today, Arizona will get its second opportunity in pairs competition the following day.
Arizona head coach Steve Walker said his players can’t get frustrated if success does not happen early on in matches. In the two losses last weekend, Arizona fell behind early and then started to rush the fundamentals.
“Both Hawaii and USC were able sustain longer rallies, and read us a little bit better,” Walker said. “That caused us to do things that were very uncharacteristic by making the unforced errors we should not be making. We tried to terminate the rallies way too soon.”
The Wildcats also had trouble in the side-out game in the two losses. Walker said the Wildcats were not in a good position to pass the ball accurately when the serving was more aggressive.
“Our players failed to move well and adjust to the more challenging serves after the ball was contacted off the server’s hand,” Walker said. “From a first contact standpoint, our team was not doing a good job of pushing the ball closer to the net in order to put more pressure on the defense.”
Walker said there is a good and bad side of the court in beach volleyball.
So when competition heats up again Friday as it did last weekend, Walker wants his players to have more faith in their own skills when dealing with the different “sides.”
“When the wind is in your face and coming toward you, that tends to be the good side as you can serve more aggressively,” Walker said. “At times we would be down early and then try to rush things when switching to the bad side. The players were not confident and because of that, the side-out was off, and we would not give ourselves a chance to win late in the game.”
—Follow Tyler Keckeisen @tyler_keckeisen