– The University of Arkansas volleyball team lost in three sets to No. 4 Missouri Wednesday evening in front of 7,437 fans at the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo. The Razorbacks were led by 18 kills from junior Meredith Hays
and 19 digs from senior libero Emily Helm
. Arkansas ends the regular season with a 16-13 overall record and a 9-9 mark in Southeastern Conference play.
With her 18th dig of the match, Helm collected her 500th dig of the season to become the first Razorback to reach that figure since 2007 and just the fourth to do so in program history. She joins the short list of former standouts Ashley Miller, Krystal Osborne and Jaimie Torromeo. Additionally, Helm now has 34 sets this season with six or more digs including a 10-dig showing in the third. In sole possession of 10th place on the program’s all-time list, Helm now has 985 digs in her Razorback career.
Hays led all players Wednesday with her 18 kills, adding four digs, three total blocks and an ace against Missouri. She registered 11 of her kills in the third set. The performance marked her 14th match of the year with at least 15 kills. Hays has posted double-digit kill totals in 26 of 29 matches this season, including all of the Razorbacks’ SEC matches.
Freshman Barbara Dapic
finished second among Razorbacks with seven kills while senior Raymariely Santos
tallied 28 assists, five digs and two kills from her setter position. Hays and freshman Breana Jones
led the team with three total blocks each.
After losing the first two sets, Arkansas came out of the locker room and traded points with Missouri (34-0, 18-0 SEC) until the score was tied at 8-all after a solo stuff by Hays. The Razorbacks took the lead at 13-12 after consecutive kills from Hays forced Missouri into a timeout. The Tigers pulled ahead and led by two at 22-20 but Arkansas rallied and arrived at set point at 24-23 when a Mizzou attack landed wide.
The two teams began a back-and-forth sequence that eventually featured four match points for the Tigers. Arkansas saved the first three by way of consecutive kills from Hays and a tandem block formed by Hays and Jones. However, Missouri put up a block of its own on its fourth match point to secure the win.
With the regular season complete, the Razorbacks now await the possibility of postseason play. The 2013 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Selection Show will air Sunday, Dec. 1, at 8:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPNU. Arkansas is seeking its second-consecutive NCAA bid and 11th selection as a program.
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