UA volleyball notebook: 'Chilly' Wildcats try to bounce back

2013-11-14T00:00:00Z UA volleyball notebook: 'Chilly' Wildcats try to bounce backBy Zack Rosenblatt Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 14, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The news conference room in McKale Center can get chilly.

After Sunday’s match against Washington, Taylor Arizobal shivered.

“It’s cold in here,” she said.

Madi Kingdon chimed in.

“Here, put on a jacket,” she said, taking off an Arizona fleece hoodie and handing it to Arizobal.

“Does it fit?” she asked.

“Yeah, we’re good,” responded a smiling Arizobal.

This exchange happened post-game when Arizona lost 3-0 to No. 3 Washington on Sunday at McKale.

Three weeks earlier, Arizona upset No. 1 USC, the high point of the season so far.

They were hot.

The match against UW might have been their low point, though, making it the fourth loss in six matches since USC. So, they were cold.

Arizona had a season-low .067 hitting percentage with 23 errors.

“We weren’t together as a team tonight,” Kingdon said. “It was individuals out there playing for themselves, so I think we need to work on that a little bit more.”

Added Candace Nicholson, a senior libero: “We made a lot of unforced errors, which is really uncharacteristic of us. It was just kind of one of those games where nothing went right for us.”

On Tuesday, the Wildcats started to do that, to work to build back up the team chemistry that was there against USC but lost against Washington.

The Wildcats will face Utah at McKale tonight at 7, and Colorado on Sunday at 2 p.m. Both will be televised on Pac-12 Arizona.

“We didn’t execute very well, and we didn’t play well together,” coach Dave Rubio said. “Whatever the influences were because of that, I don’t know, but you gotta move on and be ready to get better.”

“The next six matches are no joke,” he added. “Every one of those teams can beat us.”

The Wildcats’ remaining opponents have a combined winning percentage of 73.7, and an average RPI of 26.

Here’s a look at how the UA’s schedule looks the rest of the way.

Utah (17-9, 6-8 Pac-12)

— RPI: 22

— When: Tonight at 7

— Where: McKale Center

— Last time: Utah won 3-1 on Oct. 27

— Since: Utes are 0-4

Colorado (15-9, 7-7)

— RPI: 39

— When: Sunday at 2 p.m.

— Where: McKale Center

— Last time: Colorado won 3-0 on Oct. 25

— Since: Buffs are 2-3, on a three-game losing streak

USC (22-3, 12-2)

— RPI: 5

— When: Nov. 22 at 8 p.m.

— Where: Los Angeles

— Last time: Arizona beat then No.1-Trojans 3-0 on Oct. 20

— Since: Trojans are 5-1

UCLA (13-11, 4-10)

— RPI: 43

— When: Nov. 24 at 2 p.m.

— Where: Los Angeles

— Last time: Arizona won 3-0 on Oct. 18

— Since: Bruins are 3-4

Stanford (18-5, 11-3)

— RPI: 7

— When: Nov. 27 at 5 p.m.

— Where: McKale Center

— Last time: Haven’t played in 2013, but UA lost two matches to Cardinal in 2012 by a combined 6-1.

ASU (16-10, 5-9)

— RPI: 44

— When: Nov. 29 at 5 p.m.

— Where: McKale Center

— Last time: In Pac-12 opener, ASU won 3-0 on Sept. 24

— Since: Sun Devils are 4-9, including a seven-game losing streak

Rubio feeling scruffy

Rubio is 54 years old, and has been the UA’s coach for 22 of them.

But he’s never grown a beard.

He is now.

The student athletic council requested that the coaches let their facial hair grow.

UA athletic director Greg Byrne, for one, is growing a mustache.

“I didn’t want to do the mustache because I thought that’d look terrible. Vanity always plays a part in my decision-making,” he said, smiling, “But, this is the first time I’ve ever done it. It’s fine, it itches a little bit, but it’s good.”

Maybe if Arizona makes the NCAA tournament, it will turn into a playoff beard.

RPI rises

Despite losing to Washington on Sunday, the Wildcats RPI improved from 27 to 25 this week. Arizona is in fairly good shape for the NCAA tournament — teams in the top 40 to 50 of the RPI are pretty safe bets, plus the Wildcats went 10-2 in nonconference play, which is a determining factor for the selection committee.

Plus, the two losses came against Kansas (13 RPI) and Hawaii (12), and Arizona has a win against USC (5).

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

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