Wildcats return home
Nevada, Houston and Eastern Washington — not exactly teams that strike fear into the hearts of Arizona volleyball.
And while the Wildcats aren't expecting any major upsets this weekend, there is still no room for relaxing.
""I think all the teams are good, capable teams. We've seen them on film and I think they're good; they're physical,"" said head coach Dave Rubio. ""And with the score being only to 25, there's so many things that can happen in a game of 25.""
The coaching staff and the players are not taking any team lightly, especially during their quest to return to the NCAA tournament.
""I think they're for sure (going) to be a challenge,"" junior outside hitter Whitney Dosty said. ""We played New Mexico State during spring, and they were pretty challenging, but we'll see when they get here.""
For Arizona, the non-conference schedule is a key to their post-season success. In hoping to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years, no team can be taken lightly.
""Every match counts and carries weight. Each week is different,"" Rubio said. ""You're hoping your team can demonstrate some kind of consistency.""
Consistency is something that Arizona struggled with last season. An up-and-down season is something the Wildcats are trying to avoid this year, especially on the road.
After taking the first three victories on the road in Louisville, Ky., last weekend, it's home sweet home for the Wildcats.
Arizona welcomes their opponents to the 25th Wildcat Classic this weekend, beginning with a match against the Nevada Wolf Pack at 11 a.m. on Friday. Like the Wildcats, the Wolf Pack returned all five starters and its libero for the 2009 season.
In the nightcap, Arizona faces a young Houston squad led by 24-year head coach Bill Walton. The Wildcats have had success against the Cougars, going 6-1. Houston and Arizona first met in the Wildcats opening volleyball season in 1977.
Before Arizona football takes the field at Arizona Stadium, the Wildcats welcome the Eastern Washington Eagles just across the street. A familiar team to the Arizona pre-conference schedule, the Eagles have lost every match against the Wildcats in their six meetings.
For the players, especially veterans who have been through the tough road struggles, Lute and Bobbi Olson Court is a welcome sight.
""It's going to be fun playing in McKale again. We haven't been in here in a while,"" Dosty said. ""I think everyone is looking forward to that.""