Arizona volleyball gets ready to square off against Sun Devils to kick off conference play
After a successful run in its non-conference schedule, Arizona volleyball (10-2) will start conference play against rival ASU (8-3) on Thursday, Sept. 26.
The Wildcats have won their last four matches against the Sun Devils, including eight out of the last 10. With both teams having high aspirations this season, it is expected that they will leave everything on the court this week in Tempe.
Junior Andrea Mitrovic has led the Sun Devils with an outstanding 138 kills (3.63 per set) and 88 digs (2.32 per set). With her presence on both ends at the net, Arizona will need to sustain its high level of contribution from all players, as they have recently. A player who has truly elevated her play as of late for the Wildcats is junior Paige Whipple.
Whipple is leading the team with 145 kills (3.63 per set) on the season, along with 99 digs defensively. Accompanying her with high level of production so far this season is Elizabeth Shelton (106 kills, 2.59 per set) and Katie Smoot (101 kills, 2.81 per set). It seems, as of late, with the team at full health, the Wildcats are coming together as a unit and are firing on all cylinders.
ASU has yet to host a game at Wells Fargo Arena, so it will test their ability to come out and protect their home court. Despite having one loss in a neutral setting, Arizona has been undefeated (2-0) on the road in the early season, but they know from experience how hostile of an atmosphere it can be in Tempe.
Both teams have displayed resiliency this season by bouncing back in matches after dropping the first set. That being said, and with both teams playing well recently, it should be an expected back-and-forth battle between the Pac-12 and in-state foes.
Follow Daniel Philipsborn on Twitter.