No. 13 Arizona volleyball takes perfect record to Long Island
Arizona's Penina Snuka (20) sets the ball for her teammates while playing against California State Northridge on Saturday, Sept. 5. Snuka leads the team with 74 digs.
Arizona volleyball will look to continue its undefeated season over the weekend in Long Island, N.Y., where it will take on Syracuse Friday at 1:30 p.m., LIU Brooklyn Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and Ohio State Saturday at 2 p.m.
The No. 13 Wildcats have only dropped one set in their six matches this season.
Ohio State, ranked No. 15 in the country, will be the No. 1 ranked opponent the Wildcats play this season and looks to be a good test for Arizona.
“We’re certainly going to have our work cut out for us over the next two weekends,” said Arizona volleyball head coach Dave Rubio.
Rubio said LIU Brooklyn—even though the team has not won a match this season—will be a very competitive team and that Ohio State and undefeated Syracuse are both very athletic and experienced competitors.
In order to prepare for these more athletic teams, Rubio placed a strong emphasis on blocking and offense during practice this week, areas he said were on the bottom of the list of priorities in the past.
Rubio said his team must improve on those aspects throughout the season and that they will continue to be a work in progress.
Junior Kalei Mau has taken on an entirely new role this season from last, and she hopes to continue improving and developing this weekend.
Being a first-year transfer a year ago, Mau played very little and was still figuring out her role. Now, Mau said she knows exactly what she needs to bring to the table even if it means playing positions she never has before.
“This is my first time ever playing all rotations,” Mau said. “I’ve never actually had a coach that even trusted me to play back row, so it’s a big deal for me to go back there and make plays happen, score points and end rallies, because that’s really what I’m back there for.”
Mau said she hopes she can improve her decision-making this weekend, specifically about attacking when she is hitting in the back row.
Mau also has stepped into a leadership role as being one of the key contributors for the Wildcats this year. Mau said she has become a player that her teammates can always rely on to put balls down and score whenever the team needs it.
The Wildcats will hope to leave New York extending their undefeated season to 9-0, but it will be the toughest slate of games Arizona has had so far.
“It’s definitely going to be a tougher lineup than what we’ve been seeing earlier in the season,” said senior Nikki Attea. “We have our first top-25 matchup. I think it’s going to be really good for preparing us going into the following weekend and into preseason too.”
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