UA VOLLEYBALL

Patrick Finley: Chanel No. 5 has whiff of a winner

2012-10-18T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T12:13:24Z Patrick Finley: Chanel No. 5 has whiff of a winnerPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 18, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Her parents were models who met on a fashion shoot for formalwear.

When they had a daughter, they bestowed upon her a name befitting their first encounter: Chanel.

When Chanel Brown started playing volleyball at 12, she'd long before embraced her fashion-line first name.

Her folks encouraged her to wear No. 5.

Yup - Chanel No. 5.

I went to college with future NFL receiver Justin Gage, whose jersey number gave him the moniker of "12 Gage." Former Raiders center Jim Otto wore OO because it spelled out his name: "Aught-Oh."

But what smells sweeter than Chanel's number?

"I had to have 5," the UA setter said Wednesday.

The Wildcats (11-8, 3-5) wish they could bottle what Chanel No. 5 brings to the volleyball team.

In her first year in Tucson, the Florida transfer is in the Pac-12's top 10 with 7.74 assists per set and 0.32 service aces per set.

She totaled nine combined aces in wins at Utah and Colorado last weekend.

Against the Utes, she made an accurate pass 93 percent of the time.

"That's exceptional. I think I'd be happy with 80," UA coach Dave Rubio said.

"That's a biiiiiiiig deal."

It's no coincidence it coincided with the UA snapping its five-match losing streak .

"Our team got sick of losing," the setter said.

Rubio's young team - he has 10 newcomers - had been struggling to live up to his expectations.

"There was a three-week period there where both the players and coaches were beating our heads against the wall," he said. "I was unhappy every day."

He began to keep a dry-erase tally: Good Practices and Bad Practices.

For weeks, there were more Bads than Goods.

"Two weeks ago," he said, "we finally turned the corner."

He said the Wildcats need to do two things well to "level the playing field" in the Pac-12, which features five of the nation's top seven teams: serve and pass.

Chanel No. 5 and outside hitter Madi Kingdon, who leads the UA with 316 points, have done both.

"There are lots of different forms of leadership," Rubio said. "The best leadership, though, is, 'Just play your butt off.'"

It's all the more impressive, considering Chanel No. 5 didn't sign up for this.

The Tempe native transferred to Arizona, in part, to play a 5-1 system.

Three weeks into the season, the UA switched from a 5-1 to a 6-2, bringing a second setter, Lauren Fuller, into the lineup.

Instead of being the only quarterback, Chanel No. 5 had to share.

Rubio knew she'd be disappointed, but she handled it like a pro.

"I would do anything for this team when it comes to winning," she said.

The next step is a big win.

"What we need to have is a significant, game-changing win that shows we've got a chance to be this good," Rubio said.

The middle-of-the-Pac-12 Wildcats get their chance Friday at McKale Center against No. 3 Oregon.

On Sunday, the team hopes to capitalize on early arrivals for the Red-Blue Game to pack the arena against Oregon State.

About halfway into conference play, the sweet smell of success could hinge on Chanel No. 5.

"The things she's doing on a consistent, regular basis," Rubio said, "is a reason why we're as close as we are."

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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