Arizona volleyball travels to Washington to take on two ranked opponents
Arizona volleyball failed to win a single set in its California road trip this past weekend, dropping matches to No. 2 Stanford and No. 16 California, bringing their overall record to 11-7. Although the team is still above .500, the Wildcats have dropped five out of their past six matches (all conference matchups). The team hopes to turn things around as they should have something to prove when they play away against No. 21 Washington State and No. 10 Washington this weekend.
The injury bug has been a big plague for Arizona this season, which is especially unfortunate due to their high season expectations.
“We can’t get healthy," Head Coach Dave Rubio said. "We have two outside hitters right now and two middle blockers. You need three outside hitters. We’re going to do the best we can, but it’s been a rough week for us in terms of injuries."
No. 21 Washington State (15-3) will undoubtedly try to exploit Arizona’s experimental lineup, as they are coming off three consecutive dominant victories.
“Washington State — in the 28 years I’ve been here — this is the best team they’ve ever had in my opinion," Rubio said. "You’d figure there would be somewhat of a drop off based on the two major players they lost last year. They’re not only a little bit better, but significantly better."
The Cougars have done more than replicate last season’s success largely due to the play of freshman sensation Pia Timmer. Timmer has a team high 176 kills (2.89 k/s) and 203.5 points, along with contributing 118 digs and 25 blocks on the defensive end.
No. 10 Washington (13-3) is also coming off an impressive three-win streak.
“Washington is typical Washington, steady, good, physical and low error," Rubio added.
Kara Bajema has prospered this season for the Huskies, recording 253 kills, 112 more than the next highest teammate, junior Samantha Drechsel, who has 141 kills. Senior Shayne McPherson has led the way defensively with an astonishing 243 digs on the year.
It will be a continued challenge to compete against two top Pac-12 teams while short-handed, but the Wildcats must continue to give their all if they want to keep their tournament hopes alive.
Arizona volleyball will kick off its weekend action on Friday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. against Washington State and again on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 12 p.m. against Washington. Both games will be broadcasted on Pac-12 Networks.
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