Dino's girl - Tucson News Now

Dino's girl

Tucson, AZ (KOLD) – Maybe in an alternate universe, Jazzmin Babers plays for Arizona’s Dave Rubio.

It’d be fitting, of course.

Babers, the senior star middle blocker for 16th ranked Texas A&M, is, after all, the daughter of Dino Babers, current head football coach of Syracuse and former Wildcat receivers coach/offensive coordinator under Dick Tomey (1995-2000). It was Babers who helped guide Trung Candidate to All-Conference numbers and the school record for single game, season and career rushing yards until Ka’Deem Carey came along and broke all three.

But back to his daughter.

 “She’s a terrific player,” said the Wildcat’s head coach. “Really a late bloomer.”

Babers didn’t start playing volleyball until her freshman year of high school.

“We looked at her for quite some time and then passed on her,” said Rubio. “She blossomed into a great player.”

That she did. By the end of her junior year at Waco, Texas’ Midway High School, Babers was named District 8-4A’s most outstanding hitter.  She missed the end of her senior season after tearing cartilage in her shoulder and yet was still named to the All-State team.

As an Aggie, Babers turned into an All-SEC and All-American player, strong enough to help guide Texas A&M to it first ever conference title in 2015, beating Missouri in 5 sets. SEC coaches chose Texas A&M to repeat in their preseason poll. Babers was named to the preseason All-SEC team.

That is who will line up against Arizona Friday in the first match of the Borderland Invitational. Babers and the Aggies - a team with the same record as Arizona (3-3) whose early schedule is a near mirror image of the other. While Arizona faced two top 10 teams in its first week of play, Texas A&M faced three top 20 teams in its first two weeks of play. Neither school won those meetings.

“They had a couple really tough matches,” said Rubio. “They lost in five to (15) Ohio State. They lost in five to (16) Florida State. They lost to (6) Minnesota, a team that was in the Final Four last year. I think we’re both going to be well prepared.”

Arizona is fresh off sweeping the Wildcat Classic, rolling through the likes of Alabama State, SMU, and Pepperdine by a combined score of 9-0. Looks great on paper and while Rubio was satisfied with the weekend, he mentioned one caveat.

“In other respects, I would have like to have been pushed more,” he said. And then, “That certainly will happen when we go to Las Cruces.”

Arizona will play a double header on Friday in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The first match against Texas A&M starts at 9:00am Tucson time. The Cats will follow that with a match against Sacramento State later at 4:00pm. The team will wrap up play against host New Mexico State at 1:00pm Saturday afternoon.

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