Wobbly weekend for 'Cats
Arizona volleyball has started off the season with six straight wins — an accomplishment that most head coaches would celebrate.
But for head coach Dave Rubio, it's not merely about winning. It's how you win.
Coming off three victories last weekend in Louisville, Ky., Arizona hosted the Wildcat Classic for its first home matches of the season. Although the fans at McKale Center saw a Wildcat victory in each of their matches, the level of play certainly wasn't up to par.
""It was a disappointing weekend for us in general,"" Rubio said after Arizona's matches were completed. ""Even though we came away with three wins, I really felt like in a sense we have a lot of things to work on.""
Despite their sloppy play, the Wildcats nearly swept the weekend, losing just one game to Eastern Washington University on Saturday.
Their low energy and mental errors were apparent as the Wildcats let teams claw their way back into matches. Although Arizona beat the University of Houston, the score did not reflect how close the games actually were.
""I was really disappointed in our effort level, our preparedness, our efficiency level, nothing about that match made me happy,"" Rubio said after Arizona slipped by the Cougars.
The Wildcats had 19 service errors over the weekend, and at times missed assignments on defense. On the attacking end, they had 45 errors throughout the tournament and often had to rally to get back into matches.
Arizona's biggest struggle came in its match against the Eastern Washington Eagles. As a team, their hitting percent was just .210. After defeating the Eagles in their first two sets, the Wildcats fell 25-13.
""I think that we're all disappointed in our level of play throughout the weekend as a whole,"" setter Paige Weber said after Arizona's match against the Eagles. ""I think we wish we could have performed the way that we're capable of — the standard that we set for ourselves.""
The general lack of focus that Arizona displayed certainly was a step back after their performance against competitive NCAA teams in their first three games. To avoid the up and down tidal waves that plagued the Wildcats last season, a consistent level of play needs to be reached.
Although the Wildcats have some work to do before their next match, they do not have a lot of time. They face Santa Clara on Thursday before facing Utah on Friday in the Santa Clara Tournament.
""We determine our own destiny,"" said Rubio. ""We have to be accountable for how we show up.""