When Puk Stubbe arrived in Tucson from the Netherlands as a 21-year-old freshman, she was an answer to Arizona volleyball’s desperate need. As a freshman, she stepped into a hole left by unexpected circumstances and had a huge impact. The two seasons that have followed have not gone as expected. Now, the junior outside hitter is no longer listed on the Wildcats’ roster.
Stubbe started against Arizona State on Thursday night. She has been playing in the back row in place of sophomore Jordan Wilson. However, in several matches, she has been removed from the rotation after playing early. That was the case on Thursday when she did not see the court after the first set.
Against ASU, Stubbe’s only stats were five serve receptions. She had no attacks, no digs, and no serves. She was replaced in the starting lineup by defensive specialist Haven Wray in the second set. In the third, it was Wilson who got the nod.
This season, Stubbe appeared in 37 sets over 12 matches. Among those who play regularly, she was fifth with 0.97 kills per set. Of the four pins who saw most of the playing time, she had the lowest hitting percentage at .160.
She played primarily in the back row as Arizona tried to stabilize its defense. Her 1.65 digs per set were sixth on the team. She also helped with Arizona’s serve receive, which has been a problem for the team this year. Stubbe had the highest reception percentage at .954. Of the players who regularly received the ball when on the court, her 0.14 reception errors per set was the second-best number on the team behind defensive specialist Ava Tortorello.
Most of the numbers were down significantly from when Stubbe stormed on the scene as a freshman and made the 2021 Pac-12 All-Freshman Team. That season, she was third on the team with 2.56 k/s. Her .237 hitting percentage was the best among the Arizona pins.
On defense, she had 1.74 digs per set. However, she had more issues on serve receive than she did in her final season with the Wildcats. As a freshman, she had a reception percentage of .889 and 0.27 reception errors per set.
Stubbe took a step back during her sophomore season. While she was still third on the team in kills per set, the number dropped from 2.56 to 1.76 and her hitting percentage dropped from .237 to .173.
The Wildcats have struggled with inconsistency as a team this season. That was evident again on Thursday night against ASU. After two relatively even sets that showed very little difference between the two teams, head coach Rita Stubbs said that she felt the team gave up in the third set. They were defeated 25-15 in the final frame, never really threatening the Sun Devils.
The absence of Stubbe leaves the Wildcats with four healthy pins. Seniors Sofia Maldonado Diaz and Jaelyn Hodge are joined by sophomore Wilson and freshman Sydnie Vanek. Freshman Tess Fuqua is recovering from a knee injury and will not play this season.
Arizona’s next match is against No. 7 Washington State on Sunday, Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. MST at McKale Center.