Arizona volleyball a 'much improved team' in 2018

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Jose Toro | The Daily Wildcat

The Arizona volleyball team holds hands before their game against Utah on Oct. 13 in McKale Center.

Arizona volleyball took to the courts for the first time this season for the Red-Blue scrimmage in McKale Center, with Team Red defeating Team Blue in a four-set match (25-13, 25-20, 22-25, 25-21). Head Coach Dave Rubio switched up each of the two teams between the four sets to preview different lineups before the regular season begins next week.

Based on the competitive match, Rubio said he feels his team his trending in the right direction after a rough 2017 campaign.

        RELATED: Arizona teams to watch for this fall

“It’s clear and very evident to me that we’re a much improved team. I know that we’re going to be very competitive against every team that we compete against this fall,” Rubio said.

Senior standout Kendra Dahlke led the team with 17 kills and 14 digs on the match. She was one of four Wildcats with double-double kills, joined alongside by sophomores Katie Smoot, Paige Whipple and Elizabeth Shelton. 

Arizona freshman Zyonna Fellows played her first match in a Wildcat uniform, where she clocked in six blocks and a pair of kills. The Wildcats looked like a cohesive team in their first competitive court action this season.

Players to Watch:

Kendra Dahlke

Wildcat senior Kendra Dahlke enters her fourth year with the program. In her past three years, Dahlke has accumulated a myriad of accolades and attributes, but this year Dahlke is looking to make an even bigger impact. Last year, as a junior, Dahlke led the team with 3.26 kills per set overall, had 10 double-doubles on the season and was the only Wildcat to break 300 kills in the season.

        RELATED:  Get to know the Arizona coaches in charge this fall

Katie Smoot

Sophomore outside hitter Katie Smoot is coming off a great freshman season. California native Smoot led the team with the greatest number of aces (20) last season, 16 of which occurred over the last 13 matches of the season. As a freshman, Smoot appeared in all 29 matches of the season, including a total of three starts. In her 29 matches played, she posted 71 kills and 27 blocks.

What's next?

Arizona volleyball opens its season in Sacramento, California in the Hornet Invitational where the ‘Cats will take on California State University, Northridge; Utah State and Sacramento State from Aug. 24 - 25. The ‘Cats will then return home the following weekend to take on Lipscomb, San Diego State and Pacific universities for the Cactus Classic in McKale Center Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.


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