– The University of Arkansas volleyball team rallied from a four-point deficit in the fifth set Friday to defeat South Carolina (25-22, 23-25, 25-16, 23-25, 15-12) and register the program’s 400th win. The Razorbacks were paced by a career-high performance from senior libero Emily Helm
who tallied 32 digs. Offensively, three players had double-digit kill totals including a team-high 14 kills from junior Meredith Hays
Friday’s result pushes Arkansas to 10-5 this season with a 3-1 record in Southeastern Conference play and gives South Carolina (9-6, 1-2 SEC) its first home loss of the season. With the win, the Razorbacks also improve to 3-1 this season in five-set matches.
Helm becomes the third player in program history with at least 32 digs in a match, joining the short list of Ashley Miller (2004-07) and Phoebe Bautista (2007-10). Freshmen Barbara Dapic
and Breana Jones
each had 11 kills against the Gamecocks. Hays—14 kills and 11 digs—and senior Raymariely Santos
—28 assists and 12 digs—posted double-doubles for the second-consecutive match.
With the Gamecocks taking the fourth set, Friday’s match came down to a decisive fifth game. South Carolina led 8-5 when the teams switched sides but the Razorback won seven of the next eight point to take an 12-9 lead after back-to-back kills by Jones and a Carolina attack error. On match point, Hays powered through the Gamecocks’ block for a kill to complete the fifth-set rally.
Arkansas used an early three-point surge to go ahead 5-2 in the opener and never trailed again in the set. The Razorbacks led by as many as five in the game with South Carolina pulling to within one late but Dapic found the floor to give Arkansas set point. On the team’s second set point, Hays tallied her fifth kill of the match to clinch game one.
In a set that featured nine ties, the Gamecocks evened the match score with a win in game two. The Razorbacks responded with a win in set three to take a 2-1 match lead. Arkansas turned a one-point lead into a 12-6 advantage to grab control of the game. The lead grew to as much as 10 before senior Hayley Koop
went deep for a kill to clinch the set win. Arkansas posted a .387 hitting percentage in the third frame.
The Razorbacks return to Fayetteville to close out their week with a Sunday matchup with Auburn. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m. (CT) at Barnhill Arena. Sunday’s match will represent the 40th meeting between the two programs with Arkansas holding a 32-7 advantage in the series. The teams split a pair of meetings last year with each winning on its home floor.
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