Arizona Volleyball returns home to face Oregon State

Coming off a tough trip at Oregon, Arizona Volleyball returns home to take on the Beavers of Oregon State but without their leader in Paige Whipple.

Arizona Volleyball returns home this weekend to take on Oregon State, looking to bounce back in a big way against the 3-5 Beavers. However, the path won’t be easy as senior leader Paige Whipple who was absent from Sunday’s finale against Oregon, will also be out against the Beavers as well as.

Head coach Dave Rubio characterized her absence due to injury as week-to-week, so look for Jaelyn Hodge and Sofia Maldonado Diaz to be featured prevalently for the Wildcats.

The duo is developing at a rapid rate, so look for them to become more of a focal point this weekend as they look to hold down the outside positions for the Wildcats. Also, look for Dilara Gedikoglu to draw back into the lineup, and provide some additional college experience for the Wildcats, as Rubio will likely be looking at a right-side attacking option to replace Whipple.

Both games against Oregon State this weekend can be seen live on Pac-12 Arizona, with Camryn Irwin on the call.

Record potentially a bit unfair to Oregon State

Much like Arizona, there were similar views of Oregon State in being near the bottom of the Pac-12 standings, but Dave Rubio isn’t about that. “I can tell you that Oregon State is significantly better than I thought they were going to be” Rubio stated. With a trio of Freshmen leading the charge outside, Mychael Vernon is coming off a weekend where she had 36 kills, meanwhile, setter Izzi Szulczewski had 83 assists, and middle blocker Aliyah McDonald had 30 kills and nine blocks in a pair of five-set matches against Arizona State.

A pair of great defensive squads and exciting attacking players make for what should be a fun weekend inside McKale Center between the Wildcats and Beavers.

Hodge set to take center stage for Wildcats

An in-state player the caliber of Jaelyn has not regularly opted for the Wildcats. However, by adding Hodge, she has made great strides up to this point, and she may very well become one of the best to ever wear an Arizona Volleyball uniform.

A player that Rubio compared on his weekly press conference to Kim Glass and Jennifer Abernathy from an athletic standpoint, Jaelyn is going to be an exciting player for the Wildcats for years to come.

She currently ranks third on the team with an average of two kills per set. She also had a match where she hit .350 with nine kills against Oregon. I feel safe in saying the best is yet to come from Jaelyn and can’t wait to see the heights she reaches!

News and Notes

  • As of the newest AVCA Coaches Poll, the Oregon Ducks moved to 23rd making it so every team that the Wildcats have currently played thus far, are ranked in the polls.
  • Despite the Oregon setback, the Wildcats are still receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Poll.
  • Record Watch: Sofia currently ranks third in Wildcat history with 3.48 kills per set for the season, while China Rai Crouch is currently sixth in hitting percentage for a season with a .291 mark. Lastly, Emery Herman is 10th in Wildcats history for assists in a season with 212.

At Zona Zealots, we are excited about the weekend action and will be cheering on our Cats. As always, Bear Down, Arizona!