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Arizona volleyball has a lot to prove according to Pac-12 preseason poll

Arizona volleyball player Sofia Maldonado Diaz (2) faces the camera and teammate Puk Stubbe (10) faces away from the camera Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics

Arizona volleyball has finished eighth, sixth, ninth, and fifth in the Pac-12 over the past four seasons. Despite the team returning all but one of its major contributors from last season, the Pac-12 coaches think the Wildcats will do worse this year.

The team was selected 10th in the Pac-12 preseason poll released by the conference on Monday. Arizona last finished 10th in 2017-18. No Wildcats made the preseason All-Pac-12 team.

The Wildcats return the 2020-21 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and 2021-22 All-Pac-12 honorable mention, Sofia Maldonado Diaz. They also return 2021-22 All-Freshman selection Puk Stubbe and one of the league’s best liberos in Kamaile Hiapo, who was also All-Pac-12 honorable mention last season. Jaelyn Hodge, who led the team in kills and kills per set last season, will also be back.

All but one of Arizona’s presumed starters started the majority of matches the past two seasons. After convincing super senior middle blocker Zyonna Fellows to return for her final season, head coach Dave Rubio needs to replace only middle blocker Merle Weidt who grad transferred to Denver in the offseason.