Last year, both the Arizona Wildcats and Oregon Ducks volleyball teams struggled. Injuries and youth conspired against both programs to make it a tough season. This year, the Ducks sit at 4-2 and fourth in the Pac-12 coming into the weekend tilts against the 2-4 Wildcats.
After the big sweep of Stanford last weekend and the close matches against Washington the week before, Arizona hopes to build on that as they travel to face the Oregon Ducks this weekend. This year, a much healthier Ducks’ team is playing like one of the top Pac-12 programs.
While they lost Willow Johnson and Ronika Stone to graduation, the Ducks have brought some quality players in and have built on what they had last season.
“They bring back a host of players—both setters, both middles,” Rubio said. “And so they really have I think improved significantly just by having time on the clock. Just being a year older makes them significantly better, especially the setting position. Both setters were freshmen last year. I felt like they struggled a bit in that. And so watching them, they’re really athletic, the one player 17, which is Taylor Borup, was injured all last season and she’s a significant player for them.”
The Wildcats swept the season series last year while only dropping one set, but Rubio expects it to be more difficult for his young team this year.
“They are really much, much better than they were a year ago,” he said. “And I mean, our hands are full with these guys on the road. If you see what they’ve done, they split with Washington State, they split with UCLA, and they swept USC. So these guys may be the second-best team in the conference at this point. I mean, who knows? It’s going to be a load for us.”
How to follow
- Date/Time: Friday, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m. MST and Sunday, Feb. 14 at 12 p.m. MST
- Location: Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore.
- Stream: Both matches will be streamed on Oregon Live Stream-3
- Stats: In-match stats will be available via Arizona Live Stats
- Twitter: Follow us at @AZDesertSwarm. You can also follow our editor at @RKelapire and our reporter at @KimDoss71 for coverage during the game and throughout the season.