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U of A Volleyball preps for "Wildcat Classic" Weekend Games at McKale

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Coach Dave Rubio & the Arizona Wildcat Volleyball team is getting ready for another action-packed weekend.  Plenty of tickets are available for some family fun at McKale Center.  Here's more from Arizona Athletics:

WILDCAT CLASSIC
SEPT. 15-16 • McKALE CENTER

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ARIZONA (4-2)

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ILLINOIS STATE (4-6)

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NEW MEXICO STATE (6-3)

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WILLIAM & MARY (2-8)

Roster

Roster

Roster

Roster

Schedule

Schedule

Schedule

Schedule

Stats

Stats

Stats

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Notes

Notes

Notes

Notes

Twitter

Twitter

Twitter

Twitter

DATE

TIME

MATCHUP/RESULT

LINKS

Friday, Sept. 15

10 a.m.

New Mexico State vs. Illinois State

Live Stats • Live Stream

Friday, Sept. 15

12:30 p.m.

ARIZONA vs. William & Mary

Live Stats • Live Stream

Friday, Sept. 15

4:30 p.m.

Illinois State vs. William & Mary

Live Stats • Live Stream

Friday, Sept. 15

7 p.m.

ARIZONA vs. New Mexico State

Live Stats • Live Stream • Tickets

Saturday, Sept. 2

9:30 a.m.

New Mexico State vs. William & Mary

Live Stats • Live Stream

Saturday, Sept. 2

1 p.m.

ARIZONA vs. Illinois State

Live Stats • Live Stream • Tickets



WEEKLY NOTES


ARIZONA HOSTS WILDCAT CLASSIC FOR FINAL NONCONFERENCE AFFAIRS OF 2017
Arizona volleyball (4-2) wraps up nonconference play this weekend at McKale Center with the Wildcat Classic, Sept. 15-16. UA welcomes in Illinois State, New Mexico State and William & Mary for the two-day, six-match event. This will be the Wildcats' first action in 13 days after Hurricane Irma forced the cancellation of the FSU/FAMU Classic last weekend in Tallahassee. This is the final tune up for the young Wildcats before Pac-12 play kicks off next week. 


SERIES HISTORY

  • Arizona is 5-1 all-time vs. Illinois State, but the two teams have not met in the Dave Rubio era. The Wildcats defeated the Redbirds in four sets in Tucson in their last meeting on Sept. 2, 1990 (14-16, 15-11, 16-14, 17-15).
  • Arizona has won all 16 meetings vs. New Mexico State, including four-set wins each of the last two seasons. Last year, UA defeated NMSU (25-21, 19-25, 25-16, 25-20) in Las Cruces.
  • This will be the first matchup between Arizona and William & Mary.


COACHES

  • Arizona head coach Dave Rubio is in his 26th season with the Wildcats. The conference's active leader in wins a Pac-12 coach, Rubio is 483-293 at UA.
  • Illinois State head coach Leah Johnson is in her first season with the program.
  • New Mexico State head coach Mike Jordan is 427-187 in 20 seasons in Las Cruces.
  • William & Mary is coached by Arizona alum Melissa Ferris, who is in her third season with the Tribe. Ferris, who played at Arizona from 1991-94, is seventh in Arizona history with 1,273 kills. 


CATS AT A GLANCE

  • Arizona is second in the Pac-12 (13th in the NCAA) in opponent hitting percentage, holding teams to a .130 clip. In UA's four victories, its opponents are hitting .065.
  • The Wildcats and 10th nationally in blocks/set (3.11) and have had double-digit blocks in all of their six matches. UA had 10-or-more blocks in just 43% of their matches last season (15-of-35).
  • Underclassmen account for 54% of Arizona's kills (156-of-291), 91% of Arizona's assists (241-of-266), 57% of Arizona's digs (178-of-313), 65% of Arizona's solo blocks (11-of-17) and 63% of Arizona's block assists (65-of-103).
  • Devyn Cross and Jade Turner were named to the Cactus Classic All-Tournament Team. Both players averaged more than 1.5 kills per set on better than .340 hitting. Cross and Turner were Arizona's two leading blockers, averaging 1.27 per set an 0.82 per set, respectively.
  • Wildcat players already have accounted for seven double-doubles (Julia Patterson - 3, Kendra Dahlke - 2, Paige Whipple - 2). Arizona is one of two teams in the Pac-12 (Oregon) to have at least three players with multiple double-doubles.

OPPONENTS
Illinois State (4-6)

  • ISU went 2-1 at the Redbird Classic last weekend in Normal, Illinois with victories over Dayton and Cincinnati and a five-set loss to Seton Hall. 
  • Stef Jankiewicz was named MVC Freshman of the Week after averaging 11.46 assists and 2.54 digs per set in the Redbird Classic. She is third in the conference overall, averaging 10.26 assists/set.

New Mexico State (6-3)

  • The Aggies have won four straight matches (and 12 straight sets), including a 3-0 weekend at the Borderland Invitational with sweeps over Abilene Christian, Delaware State and Samford. 
  • NMSU averages a ridiculous 18.09 digs/set, 13th in the nation. Ariadnne Sierra is 21st nationally, averaging 5.41 digs/set.

William & Mary (2-8)

  • The Tribe has lost four straight matches, including an 0-3 weekend at the Wake Forest Invitational last weekend in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
  • Sydney Biniak is among the nation's leaders in kills (4.29/set) while hitting a respectable .267 on 352 swings.


RANKINGS

  • Arizona did not receive votes in this week's AVCA Top 25. 
  • Arizona was ranked 24th in the preseason top 25, marking Arizona's 314th week in the AVCA Top 25, dating back to 1982. That's 10th-most among all schools in Division I.
  • The Pac-12 has six teams in the Top 25: No. 4 Stanford, No. 7 Washington, No. 11 Oregon, No. 13 UCLA, No. 16 Utah and No. 18 USC. Washington State is receiving votes.
  • UA has 10 matches scheduled against teams currently ranked in the Top 25.


CAN YOU DIG IT?

  • Arizona has finished top three in the conference in each of the last four season in digs per set. UA led the Pac-12 from 2013-15 and finished third in 2016 (15.67 digs/set).
  • However, four of the six players that averaged more than a dig per set last season graduated, including libero Laura Larson and setter Penina Snuka, two of the top five diggers in UA history.
  • This season, UA is averaging 14.23 digs/set led by libero Kimberly Gutierrez's 3.14 digs/set.


DAHLKE LOOKS TO BUILD ON STELLAR SOPHOMORE SEASON

  • Kendra Dahlke had a breakout campaign in 2016, averaging 3.95 kills and 4.35 points per set. Those figures ranked fourth and sixth in the Pac-12. Those figures were up from 1.57 kills and 1.72 points per set as a freshman in 2015.
  • Dahlke is second on the team with 2.71 kills/set this season.


BIG SHOES TO FILL

  • This season, sophomore setter Julia Patterson is tasked with replacing All-American Penina Snuka, the 2016 Pac-12 Setter of the Year. So far, so good. Patterson is averaging 10.45 assists and 2.77 digs/set.
  • As the understudy of the best digging setter in UA history, Patterson must have picked up a thing or two. Snuka led the Pac-12 in double-doubles all four seasons as UA. Patterson is tied for the conference-lead with three double-doubles. 


DON'T CROSS HER

  • Devyn Cross made an immediate impact in 2016, stepping in as one of UA's starting middles almost immediately. However, it was late in the season that she truly left her mark, averaging 1.25 blocks/set over UA's last three weeks of 2016. She's carried that into 2017...
  • Dating back to Nov. 18, 2016 (last 13 matches), Cross is averaging 1.61 kills/set on .392 hitting with 1.28 blocks/set. Prior to that point, Cross averaged 1.21 kills/set on .248 hittinge with 0.80 blocks/set.


RUBIO AND STAFF RECRUITING AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL


WILD KITTENS

  • Arizona has eight freshmen, five sophomores, three junior and just three seniors. Arizona's 13 underclassmen are the most in the Pac-12.
  • Through graduation/transfer, Arizona lost six players who combined for 737 total sets played in 2016. The nine returners combined for 550 sets last season and 946 for their entire careers.


ONE LAST GO-AROUND FOR MACK

  • Middle blocker McKenzie Jacobson is set for her redshirt senior season. Jacobson, along with transfer Kimberly Gutierrez, are the lone two seniors on the squad.
  • Jacobson led the team in hitting percentage last season (.293) and averaged more than two points per set (2.01) for the second straight year.


UP NEXT

  • Arizona opens Pac-12 play next week at Arizona State on Thursday, Sept. 21 before returning home to face Washington State on Saturday, Sept. 23.
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