No. 14 Arizona volleyball preps for Colorado and Utah

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Alex McIntyre | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona libero and defensive specialist Laura Larson (11) passes the ball to her teammates while playing against Oregon on Sunday, Sept. 27. Larson finished the game with 12 digs as Arizona knocked off Oregon in straight sets.

Arizona volleyball is back in McKale Center to play Colorado and Utah this weekend after a tough weekend on the road against No. 10 UCLA and No. 1 USC. The Wildcats are back home for the first time since beating California in four sets three weeks ago.

The Wildcats have struggled with the elevated competition, going 5-7 in their last 12 games and 3-5 in Pac-12 Conference play, after starting the season 8-0. All seven of their losses have come against teams ranked higher than them.

Both of Arizona’s opponents this weekend are not ranked; this will be the first full week in seven weeks it will not have to play a ranked opponent.

The Wildcats will still have their work cut out for them against a Colorado squad that has a 12-8 overall record and is fresh off a four-set victory over Stanford.

“Colorado is certainly coming off the biggest win [it’s] had this year against Stanford,” said Arizona volleyball head coach Dave Rubio. “They’re real physical. I think we have our work cut out for us against them.”

Rubio said he did not think his team played well against UCLA last Friday but that it made progress against the No. 1 Trojans. He said he knows Colorado will be a tough opponent but feels good about his team going in.

“I feel really good about us, too,” Rubio said. “I feel like we’re making progress. The USC match was a good match for us.”

When it comes down to it, Rubio said he thinks the key to the match will be who can serve and pass better, something he said is often the difference maker.

Libero Laura Larson agreed with Rubio that serving and passing will be important factors of the game. She said Colorado has a good serving and passing team, so it will be important for the Wildcats to follow suit.

When asked about something she would like to see improve in her team, Larson said she thinks it needs to be more aggressive.

“Sometimes when we’re down, we get a little tentative—not sure what to do,” Larson said. “Staying aggressive, going after every serve, every hit, always pushing the ball up, I think that will help us the most.”

Both Larson and Rubio look forward to being back in front of the home crowd after playing on the road the past two weekends.

“We haven’t been home for two weeks now,” Rubio said. “I really hope the community comes out and supports us. It’s nice to be home in a familiar environment. I hope our play reflects that.”


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