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Courtesy: Athletic Communications
Arkansas finishes the 2013 with a 16-14 record and back-to-back NCAA appearances.
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Helm Joins 1,000-Dig Club in NCAA Loss

12/06/2013
Athletic Communications
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team won the opening set but lost to Creighton in four (22-25, 25-14, 25-22, 26-24) Friday evening in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship. The Razorbacks were paced by a match-high 29 digs from senior libero Emily Helm while senior Hayley Koop and freshman Barbara Dapic each tallied 11 kills. Arkansas closes out the season with a 16-14 record.

“First of all, I want to congratulate Creighton on a good match,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “I am very proud of our team and proud of our season. Obviously, we’re a little disappointed. I thought we could have played better today but a lot of that goes to Creighton and some of the things they were able to do.”

With her 15th dig of the match, Helm became the ninth member of Arkansas’ 1,000-dig club. Combined with Friday’s performance against the Bluejays, she registered 1,014 digs in her two-year Razorback career and is now tied for eighth place with Denise Baez (1994-96) on the program’s all-time. The Queen Creeek, Ariz., native tallied 530 digs during her senior campaign, good for the third-highest single-season figure in program history.

Helm’s 29 digs also represents the highest total by a Razorback in an NCAA match. Dapic matched her career high with Friday’s performance while Koop posted her 11th double-digit effort of the season. From her setter position, senior Raymariely Santos dished out a season-high 42 assists to go along with six kills, five digs, two total blocks and a service ace. She finishes her collegiate career with 3,661 assists and ranked second on the program’s all-time list.

“Making the NCAA Tournament two years in a row is the most amazing feeling,” Santos said. “These girls give their hearts and work hard every day to give (the seniors) what we’ve wanted to accomplish. We obviously wanted more but I’m proud of them and I know coach is going to get them going to make a run next year.”

Redshirt freshman Ana Sofia Jusino led the Razorbacks with three total blocks and All-SEC junior Meredith Hays tallied seven kills, nine digs and an ace. Freshman Danielle Harbin was third on the team with nine kills, her highest total since the third match of the season.

After falling behind by as many as five points early in the first set, the Razorbacks battled back to pull even at 16-all when a Creighton attack landed long. Arkansas grabbed its first lead of the match at 20-19 when the Bluejays sent another attack out of bounds. Harbin and Santos teamed up for a block to push the Razorback lead to 23-20 and force a timeout by Creighton. On the second set point, Hays sent a ball down the line and off an opposing defender to clinch the first set for Arkansas.

The Razorbacks had to dig out of early deficits in each set Friday. After dropping sets two and three, the team erased a 5-1 hole in the fourth took its first lead of the frame with an ace from Santos. Arkansas led by as many as four points on two occasions, including a 20-16 advantage after a Harbin putaway. Dapic found the floor to give the Razorbacks a pair of set points at 24-22 but Creighton rattled off the final four points of the match to advance to the second round.

“I think we helped set a standard,” Helm said. “Just making the NCAA Tournament isn’t where we need to be now. We need to realize that we can advance. We didn’t make it this year but we instilled them with our work ethic. I know they’ll carry that on and keep working hard. (The program) has a bright future.”

For more information on Arkansas volleyball, follow @RazorbackVB on Twitter.

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