Click here for updates on the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation at the University of Arizona

Toughness is key for UA volleyball

s91714volleyballrebeccanoblergb
Rebecca Noble and | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona volleyball head coach Dave Rubio coaches the women’s volleyball team during warm ups before Arizona’s 3-0 win against CSUN during the Arizona Invitational on Sept. 6 in McKale Center. The Wildcats have started the season 8-1 and have three more nonconference games before conference play begins next week.

“What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger” is a mantra the No. 20 Arizona volleyball team can relate to — especially after last weekend at the 26 West Longhorn Classic in Austin, Texas.

In practice last week, Arizona head coach Dave Rubio said that the true measure of the team will be when it hits a bump in the road and takes on a few losses. He also said the one thing that can level the playing field regardless of physical size and experience is serving, something Arizona struggled with against the No. 2 ranked team in the country.

This past weekend when the Wildcats (8-1) were overwhelmed offensively and swept in straight sets by Texas, costly errors compounded with sloppy offense contributed to their demise. Additionally, the Longhorns utilized their physical advantage and were able to out-block Arizona 10-4 while holding the Wildcats to a measly .197 hitting percentage.

Over the course of the match, Arizona committed an unprecedented 20 attack errors, 12 service errors and five receiving errors, which was twice as many attack errors (10), three times as many service errors (4) and two-and-a-half times as many receiving errors (2) as Texas.

MORE FROM THE DAILY WILDCAT

Rubio put the blame on himself, saying that it’s now time for the coaching staff to do its job.

“It’s about our ability as coaches to be well prepared every day in practice and push these guys as far as they could be pushed,” Rubio said. “This group will go as far as I can take them, and I can’t say that about all the teams I’ve coached in the past.”

All hail the Kingdon

Last weekend, senior outside hitter Madi Kingdon compiled her fourth and fifth 20-plus-kill matches of the year, the 19th and 20th of her career, and enabled Arizona to battle through each of its sets against Texas, keeping the game competitive until the Longhorns surged late in the sets. She gathered 58 kills and 23 digs throughout the three-game tournament.

Kingdon has been a huge reason for the Wildcats’ success this season. The Phoenix native has recorded 175 of the Wildcats 422 total kills this year — or over 40 percent — and ranks third on the team in digs, averaging 2.79 per set.

“Madi is elite,” Rubio said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and I can tell you with full confidence that she’s one of the two or three best players I’ve ever coached in our program since I’ve been here. I believe that she truly is one of the top players in the country.”

Weekend trifecta

Fans will have three chances to watch Arizona volleyball this weekend, as the team plays Friday at 10:30 a.m. against Coppin State, 7 p.m. against Tulane and Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against UMBC.

The three games will close out the nonconference portion of the schedule as ASU comes to McKale Center next Wednesday in Arizona’s Pac-12 Conference opener.

—Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17


Share this article


UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (11/30)
442 8 1.8%
Total (8/2)
61,708 982 1.6%
Includes tests since August 2, 2021
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated November 30, 2021