– The University of Arkansas volleyball team dropped a five-set decision (29-27, 22-25, 25-19, 17-25, 10-15) to Kansas Thursday night at Barnhill Arena. Junior Meredith Hays
paced the team with 22 kills and 15 digs, her first double-double performance in a Cardinal and White jersey. Senior libero Emily Helm
matched her career high with 27 digs while sophomore Summer Morgan
and redshirt freshman Ana Sofia Jusino
each registered six total blocks.
Before the match, senior Raymariely Santos
received a game ball from head coach Robert Pulliza
in recognition of her 3,000-assist milestone reached during Tuesday night’s match at Oklahoma. She is just the third setter in program history to reach that mark. Santos finished the match against Kansas with 27 assists, eight digs, seven kills and three total blocks.
“I think we came out with a lot of energy,” Helm said. “We had the momentum after the first set but we just weren’t consistent enough to close out the match and we couldn’t come out with a ‘W.’”
In the fifth set, Kansas held an 8-5 lead when the teams switched sides but the Razorbacks won the next four points to take a 9-8 advantage on an attack error by the Jayhawks. However, the visitors won seven of the final eight points to pull away for the five-set victory. Thursday’s match was Arkansas’ second five setter of the season, previously knocking off New Mexico last Friday during the Arkansas Invitational.
In the first set, Arkansas (3-2) trailed by as much as six before surging with a six-point run to take an 18-17 lead on a kill by Santos. The remainder of the set featured eight ties and six set points, four for the Razorbacks. On both of Kansas’ set points, Hays responded with a kill to extend play. On the team’s fourth chance to close out the opener, Santos sent a shot down the line for the set-winning kill.
The Razorbacks carried the momentum into the second set, building an early eight-point lead on a service ace by Morgan to force a Kansas timeout. However, the visitors began to chip away and took the lead at 16-15 on an Arkansas attack error. The Jayhawks used a four-point run late in the set to take control and went on to even the match with a 25-22 win in game two.
After intermission, the two teams split games three and four. Arkansas turned in a .462 hitting percentage during the third set with Hays shouldering the load with six kills including the game winner. The Jayhawks built an early lead in the fourth and maintained their advantage to come away with the set win to force a decisive fifth game.
To complete the home-and-home series, the Razorbacks will travel to Lawrence, Kan., to face Kansas on Saturday afternoon at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center. First serve of the regional matchup is scheduled for 1 p.m. (CT) and will also be available on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN app.
For more information on Arkansas volleyball, follow @RazorbackVB