TUCSON, AZ - In just the program's second year, head coach Steve Walker already has the Cats in the top 10. In the first AVCA Sand Volleyball Poll of the year, the Arizona sand volleyball checks in at 10th after its 3-0 start to the year.
"Being ranked in the top 10 for the 1st time certainly feels good and I am happy for our players, staff and all the people involved with getting the program off the ground." head coach Steve Walker said. "It's nice to be recognized for your efforts by your peers, but it isn't something we set out to do. Rather it's just a bi-product of honoring the process of getting better on and off the court every day (which we talk about constantly) and if a ranking comes along with that then terrific. It's great to be in the top 10, but like I told the players today in practice, we will have to work even harder to stay in the top 10.
Hawai'i whose record is, 2-0, is ranked first to begin the 2015 season. The Rainbow Wahine are followed by Pepperdine, USC, Florida State, Long Beach State, LMU, Florida International, Pacific, UCLA, with Stetson and the Wildcats tied for number 10.
The Wildcats also climbed the poll to 14th in the DiG Magazine Collegiate Sand Volleyball. Pepperdine, which has won two national championships in the sport's first three years, was ranked first to begin the 2015 season, but Hawai'i has now taken the no. 1 spot. The top five teams in the poll are Pepperdine (1), USC (1), Florida State and Long Beach State, respectively.
Tulane, who Arizona defeated (5-0) this past weekend is featured in the top 20 at No. 17.
Indoor players Madi Kingdon, Rachel Rhoades and Taylor Arizobal spend their off-seasons competing with the sand volleyball team.
The Wildcats hosted the Arizona Invitational this past weekend defeating TCU (5-0), LSU (4-1), and Tulane (5-0) to open the 2015 season. The decisive results saw Arizona climb into the top 10 in the AVCA Sand Volleyball Poll (tied for 10th) and move up to 14th in the DiG Magazine Collegiate Sand Volleyball.
Kingdon and her partner Kaitlyn Leary, playing as the No. 1 team, went 3-0 on the weekend, earning a straight set victory over TCU's Shane Peters and Natalie Gower, 21-7, 21-11 on day 1. On day 2, Kingdon and Leary defeated LSU's No. 1 team, 21-16, 21-17 and Tulane's, 22-20, 21-15.
Rhoades and her partner Kendall Polan finished the weekend with a 2-1 record. The duo, competing as the No. 3 team, defeated TCU's Alexa Heist and Sutton Sunstrum, 21-14, 26-24. The following day LSU picked up a win with Cati Leak and Callan Molle defeating the pair, 21-19, 21-19, 16-14. In their final, but intense match they earned their victory against Tulane, 21-12, 26-24.
Arizobal and her partner Allie Cook, competing as the No. 4 team, went 3-0 on the weekend. This pair defeated TCU (21-4, 21-18), LSU (21-13, 21-8) and Tulane (21-19, 21-15).
The Wildcats will be back in action this weekend as they head to Cal Poly. Arizona will take on Caly Poly, Saturday at 11 a.m. and participate in the Cal Poly Pairs Tournament on Sunday at 9 a.m. PDT.