Seen and heard at Jenny Craig Pavilion
Let’s go surfin’ now
Excuse Dave Rubio for not going to the beach all too much recently.
He has called Tucson home for the last, oh, 23 years.
Before that, though, Rubio lived in California, where you might find a beach or two.
On Thursday in San Diego, Rubio had a little bit of spare time after Arizona’s practice at Jenny Craig.
So he took the team’s rental car, and drove it to a surf shop and put the plan in motion for a custom surfboard.
“It’s not ready yet,” he said before Friday’s match.
He’s not quite the surfer bro, but he loves to surf. So does his brother, Keith, an assistant coach with New Mexico State. Growing up, the two used to surf “all the time.”
Now, they’re stranded in the deserts of Las Cruces, N.M., and Tucson.
Not much opportunity in the way of surfing.
“Sand surfing, maybe,” Keith said, laughing.
The big number
2,926Days since the last first-round NCAA tournament win for Rubio and the UA. Or, eight years. The last first-round victory came in 2005, when the Wildcats beat Utah State. The Cats also beat Utah and Ohio before falling to Santa Clara in the Elite Eight. Since then, they’ve missed the big dance four times and lost in the first round three other times.
“I think because he’s my
Rubio, I’m gonna say Keith is the better looking one.” —
Aggies head coach Mike Jordan
Penina Snuka’s family got creative with their UA apparel.
Her three relatives at Jenny Craig wore white Arizona shirts, with “Penina” emblazoned across the front.
The catch? The “a” in Penina was replaced with the block “A” from the Wildcats’ logo.
Out of rhythm
About 30 minutes before the match, the Wildcats huddled up and circled around assistant coach Charita Stubbs. Half the team went to its knees, the other half stood up. Then they switched. Finally, they all bent down at the same time, counted to three, Stubbs jumped, and they followed suit.
Third time’s a charm.
The familial connections from the UA to NMSU don’t end with the Rubio brothers.
Bradley Nash, an Aggies redshirt sophomore, is the sister of Kim Nash, who was a libero at the UA in 2005-06.
Nash, an outside hitter, started for New Mexico State on Friday and had four kills.
There’s also two Aggies from Tucson — Desiree Scott (Catalina Foothills) and Stephanie Ziegler (Canyon del Oro) — and another, Gwen Murphy, from Elfrida, Ariz., who went to UA volleyball camps in Tucson when she was younger.
Rubio said he recommended Murphy to NMSU coach Mike Jordan.
Noticeably absent from Arizona’s win? Olivia Magill, a sophomore middle blocker.
Magill was a key component in a couple of key Wildcat wins this season — particularly an upset of then-No. 1 USC on Oct. 20.
But she was sick in the days leading up the match, so Rubio held her out.
Rachel Rhoades, a junior who hasn’t seen too much playing time this season, stepped in and had five kills and three blocks, including the game-winner.
“It gives us great confidence when you have a deep bench,” Rubio said.