Volleyball hosts home invite

The No. 21 Arizona Wildcat volleyball team looks to remain perfect on the year as they host the Arizona Invitational this weekend.


The tournament, which includes Tulane, New Mexico and UTEP, is Arizona's (8-0) last test before they open Pacific 10 Conference play against USC and UCLA. So far this season, the Wildcats have won every match, and only dropped two sets.


The Wildcats open competition against the Tulane Green Wave (3-3). Although both programs have a rich volleyball tradition — Tulane's program beginning in 1975 and Arizona's in 1977 — the two programs have never met.


""It should be a pretty tough tournament,"" head coach Dave Rubio said. ""Tulane traditionally has been very good. They have a couple of foreign kids that are outstanding.""


The Wildcats will face the Green Wave at 11 a.m. on Saturday before matching up against the New Mexico Lobos (7-1) in the nightcap. Arizona will finish with a morning match against UTEP on Sunday to round out the weekend.


The Wildcats defeated the Lobos earlier this year in Louisville, Ky. History sides with the Wildcats as they hold the advantage over New Mexico 8-5 all time.


UTEP (7-3) is unfamiliar to the Wildcats — the two schools have not met since the 1999 season opener, when Arizona defeated the Miners 3-0.


While the preparation for the Pac-10 season is the ultimate goal, Arizona can't get ahead of itself. Both Tulane and New Mexico are talented NCAA Tournament teams.

""I don't want to get too far ahead,"" Rubio said. ""Right now we need to stay focused on the next match.""


The Wildcats will have to elevate their level of play at home without junior outside hitter Whitney Dosty, who is sidelined with a hand injury.


Although the Wildcats won the Wildcat Classic tournament they hosted two weekends ago, Rubio was not pleased with the way they won. He hopes the Wildcats continue a similar high-level of play they have shown on the road at home inside of McKale Center.


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