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Arkansas is 6-0 for the first time since 2006.
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Razorbacks sweep Central Michigan

Zach Lawson, Athletic Media Relations
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – In its first of two matches Saturday, the University of Arkansas volleyball team knocked off Central Michigan in three sets (25-21, 25-16, 25-15) on day two of the adidas/Michigan Challenge in Ann Arbor, Mich. Jasmine Norton tallied a match-high 12 kills to lead the Razorback offense that posted a .363 hitting percentage against Central Michigan. The Razorbacks return to the court Saturday evening for the tournament finale against the host team, No. 22 Michigan. First serve of the match is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (CT).

Roslandy Acosta and Liz Fortado both had seven kills against Central Michigan. The two Razorback attackers only had one hitting error between them. Acosta hit .429 (7-1-14) while Fortado posted a .700 mark (7-0-10). Kasey Heckelman added six kills and a .545 hitting percentage (6-0-11) in the middle. Arkansas’ defense held the Chippewas to a .067 efficiency during the final two sets of the match. Libero Emily Helm led the team with eight digs and Janeliss Torres-Lopez had a match-high three total blocks.

“That was a very good win,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “(Central Michigan) is an NCAA Tournament team from last year and we did some good things to get a win, and now we’re in position to win a tournament title. We have to be ready for the quick turnaround for our next match against another very good team in Michigan.”

Arkansas (6-0) jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first set and led by eight, 15-7, after an attack error from Central Michigan (2-3). The Chippewas pulled to within three later in the set but after a CMU attack error and a kill from Acosta, the Razorbacks built their advantage to 19-14. Norton brought the team to set point and two plays later, Fortado closed out the opener, 25-21, with a kill on the right side.

The two teams opened the second set by trading points, but with the score tied at eight-all, Arkansas reeled off seven straight points to take a 15-8 lead. During that stretch of points, the Razorbacks took advantage of five Central Michigan errors. Back-to-back kills from Fortado pushed the lead to 19-11, and on the team’s third chance to win the set, Acosta found the floor to clinch the game, 25-16, and give Arkansas the 2-0 match lead.

The third set followed a similar pattern with the Razorbacks using a four-point push to distance from Central Michigan and take a 13-8 lead. Arkansas won seven of the next 10 points to increase its advantage to 19-11 after a kill from Acosta. The Chippewas got no closer than seven points the rest of the way and, on match point, handed the set, 25-15, and win to Arkansas with a bad-set violation.

Saturday’s match was the Razorbacks’ third this season with a hitting percentage of .300 or higher. The offense improved in each set, capping the match with a .429 figure in the third set. Central Michigan posted a .290 hitting percentage in the opening set, but the Arkansas defense limited the opponent to hitting marks of .065 and .069 in the second and third sets, respectively.

The Wolverines will be Arkansas’ first ranked opponent of the season. Log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com for match coverage, including audio stream, live stats and interactive blog.

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