Following a 2-1 showing to open the season last weekend in the Arizona Invitational, the Arizona volleyball team will host the Arizona Desert Classic on Friday and Saturday inside McKale Center.
Competition will begin on Friday afternoon and will conclude Saturday night. The Wildcats will face Butler on Friday at 7:00 p.m. before taking on Eastern Kentucky on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and Utah Valley at 7 p.m.
Arizona defeated Morgan State and Central Arkansas last weekend before dropping a four-set contest to No. 20 Kansas to conclude the tournament. Arizona, Central Arkansas and Kansas each finished with matching 2-1 records at the event. Freshman setter Penina Snukaand junior outside hitter Jane Croson were named to the Arizona Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Following the first weekend of play, Arizona junior libero Candace Nicholson leads the Pac-12 in digs with 5.90 per set. Nicholson recorded double-figure digs in each of the three matches over the weekend, which included two matches with 20 or more digs. Madi Kingdon and Croson lead the Wildcats offensively with 3.73 and 3.60 kills per set, respectively.
With the two wins last weekend, Arizona head coach Dave Rubio is just three wins shy of his 400th at Arizona. Rubio has won 519 matches in his career as a head coach, which includes his stint at Cal State Bakersfield.
Friday’s matchup between Arizona and Butler marks just the second time that the two squads have met. The Wildcats won the only meeting against the Bulldogs back on Sept. 3, 2010 in Tucson. Butler enters the weekend with a perfect 4-0 record after winning the tournament title at the Cincinnati Invitational in addition to a non-conference win against crosstown rival IUPUI. Butler defeated Cincinnati, Morehead State and Tennessee to earn the tournament title.
In the Saturday morning match, Arizona will be facing Eastern Kentucky for the first time in school history. Much like Butler, Eastern Kentucky enters the weekend with a perfect 4-0 record on the season. The Colonels opened the season by winning the tournament title at the La Quinta Inn and Suites Highlander Invitational. EKU defeated Kennesaw State, Radford and North Carolina A&T to win the tournament.
Saturday’s nightcap will feature the Wildcats and Utah Valley. The Wolverines are a familiar opponent as Arizona defeated them last year in the Wildcat Classic. Last year’s meeting was the first in history between the two schools. Utah Valley enters the weekend with a 1-3 overall record.
Live video and live stats will be available for the entirety of the tournament free of charge.
Tickets for the 2013 volleyball season are available and can be purchased by visiting the McKale Center Ticket Office, calling 520-621-CATS or by visiting ArizonaWildcats.com/volleyballtickets
Arizona Desert Classic
Fri, Sept. 6
Utah Valley vs. Eastern Kentucky, 4:30 p.m.
Arizona vs. Butler, 7:00 p.m.
Sat, Sept. 7
Arizona vs. Eastern Kentucky, 10:30 a.m.
Butler vs. Utah Valley, 12:30 p.m.
Eastern Kentucky vs. Butler, 4:30 p.m.
Arizona vs. Utah Valley, 7:00 p.m.
*All matches will be played in McKale Center
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat volleyball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaVBall.