– The University of Arkansas volleyball team dropped a straight-set decision to No. 11 Florida (25-23, 25-18, 25-15) Friday evening at the O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla. With the loss, the Razorbacks drop to 13-4 overall and 4-2 in Southeastern Conference play. The Gators improve to 12-2 overall and 6-0 in league action.
The Razorbacks were paced offensively by nine kills each from Amanda Anderson
and Jasmine Norton
. Roslandy Acosta
and Liz Fortado
each added eight kills to the Arkansas attack. Fortado had a team-high .312 hitting percentage against the Gators. Defensively, Norton led the team with 10 digs with libero Emily Helm
tallying nine digs from her libero position. Anderson was the team’s top defender at the net with three total blocks.
After an even start between the two teams, the Razorbacks took an early 13-9 lead off a Norton kill which forced a timeout from Florida head coach Mary Wise. Out of the timeout, the Gators won five of the next six points to even the score at 14-all. With the Razorbacks trailing by two, the team scored three straight points to take a 21-20 lead. Out of a timeout, the Gators responded with three points in a row to regain the lead. Facing two set points, Arkansas saved the first with a kill from Norton but Florida went on to close out the opener, 25-23.
Back-to-back blocks for Arkansas and a kill on the slide from Anderson gave the Razorbacks an early 8-5 lead in the second set. After a handful of back-and-forth rallies, the home team pushed ahead 12-9 to force a timeout from head coach Robert Pulliza
. Facing a five-point deficit later in the set, the Razorbacks pushed back to within one—Florida leading, 17-16—after a tip shot from Norton found the floor. However, the Gators regained control and won eight of the last 10 points of the set to take a 2-0 match lead.
Looking for an early spark out of the locker room, the Razorbacks took an early 4-1 lead in the third set. As it had in the previous sets, Florida erased the early deficit to get back into the set. With the score tied at 8-all, the Gators won eight of the next 11 points to take a 16-11 lead. Pulliza called his second timeout of the set to try and stop the run. However, continued to build on its advantage and reached match point after a solo block. The Razorbacks saved one match point with a kill from Fortado before losing the game, 25-15, and match.
The Razorbacks return to action Sunday for their weekend finale at Ole Miss. First serve of the Western Division matchup is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (CT) at the Gillom Sports Complex in Oxford, Miss. For more information regarding Razorback volleyball, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com or visit the team’s sport-specific RazorbackVB Facebook and Twitter pages.