Arizona volleyball travels to Northern California to take on Stanford and California
Coming off its first conference victory on Sunday, Arizona volleyball (11-5) heads to California this weekend to carry its momentum against No. 2 Stanford (9-3) and No. 16 California (13-1). It will no doubt be a heavy challenge to compete against two top teams in the Pac-12 standings, but Arizona is focused on improving and competing in each match.
“It feels good to get a win after three hard losses," said senior libero Emi Pua'a. "It gives our team confidence to go into this weekend against two really good teams."
Head Coach Dave Rubio recognizes the importance of gaining momentum and the importance of getting wins.
“The conference — in the 28 years that I’ve been here — has never been as deep as it is this year, and you have to fight and scratch for every win that you can possibly get," Rubio said.
He then acknowledged that the next two weeks will be daunting, facing four ranked opponents, but is optimistic.
“As the outside hitters get better, we’ll get better, and the kids are committed to practice every day and working hard,” Rubio said.
Stanford, whom the Wildcats have historically struggled against (8-67 all-time), have been on a tear to the start of season and could easily be ranked the No. 1 team in the country if they hadn't dropped a close few matches.
Kathryn Plummer has led the way for the Cardinals, recording 197 kills and a total 213.5 points on the season. Morgan Hentz has shined on defense, totaling 236 digs on the year, while Madeleine Gates has been a force at the net with 65 blocks. This may be the toughest opponent Arizona faces all season.
Circumstances will not become easier on Sunday, as California has only dropped one match this year, against Stanford. An encouraging outlook for Arizona is that they have won the previous two meetings against Cal, including a five-set showdown the last time they met.
One of the key components to Cal’s success this season has been their outstanding .309 team attacking percentage. This attacking percentage is .176 higher than their opponent, something Arizona should keep in mind when devising its game plan.
Arizona volleyball's next match is Friday, Oct. 11 at Stanford at 8 p.m.
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