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Courtesy: Walt Beazley
Roslandy Acosta had 10 kills and hit .375 against Mississippi State on Sunday.
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Balanced effort leads to straight-set win

Zach Lawson, Athletic Media Relations
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STARKVILLE, Miss. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team posted its second win of the weekend with a straight-set performance (25-18, 25-10, 25-16) Sunday against Mississippi State at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville. The Razorbacks had three players—Roslandy Acosta, Liz Fortado and Janeliss Torres-Lopez—with double-digit kills and libero Emily Helm matched her season high with 24 digs.

“I’m proud of our players for a great weekend,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “It’s tough to win two in a weekend, especially on the road in the SEC. Overall, we did really well preparing ourselves to get ready to play against a Mississippi State team that is very hungry. We did some really good things today, so I’m proud of our performance.”

With her 10th assist of the match—a delivery out to Jasmine NortonRaymariely Santos registered her 2,500th career assists. The Ponce, Puerto Rico, native is the fifth setter in program history to reach the career milestone. Norton posted a milestone, as well, with her 1,000th career dig. She joins the list of 1,000 kill-1,000 dig performers in program history that already includes Krystal Osborne, Denitza Koleva, Kim Storey, Denise Baez and Yarleen Santiago.

The Razorbacks jumped out to an early lead Sunday, winning five of the first six points in the match and taking a 13-7 lead on an overpass kill by Amanda Anderson to force a Mississippi State timeout. The visitors kept the pressure and built their lead to nine, 17-8, after back-to-back kills from Acosta. The Bulldogs pulled to within four later in the set but got no closer. On the team’s third chance to close out the set, Torres-Lopez found the floor to clinch the game, 25-18.

The home team held the lead early in the second set, leading by as much as three before Hayley Koop checked in with a kill to even the score at 7-all. That play was at the start of a ten-point streak that saw the Razorbacks take a 15-7 lead after a kill from Torres-Lopez. Another kill by the Razorback senior doubled up Mississippi State, 18-9, to force a timeout. Arkansas won the final seven points of the set, clinching the 2-0 match lead on a double-contact call on the MSU setter.

The start of the third set featured back-and-forth play with five ties until the teams were tied at 9-9. From that point, the Razorbacks scored five in a row with Helm at the service line. During the scoring run, Fortado had two kills and Norton had three. Acosta found the floor with her final kill of the match to give Arkansas an 18-13 lead, forcing a Bulldog timeout. Fortado’s 11th kill brought the team to match point. The Razorbacks went on to secure the sweep by way of a Mississippi State service error.

The Razorbacks’ win Sunday gave the program 33 victories against Mississippi State, the most against any Southeastern Conference opponent. The win also pushed Arkansas’ win streak against the Bulldogs to four in a row and marked the program’s 15th all-time win in Starkville.

Arkansas returns to Barnhill Arena next weekend with a pair of home matches against Alabama and Missouri. Friday’s meeting with the Crimson Tide has been designated as the team’s “Dig for the Cure” match. The weekend finale will be the first match between Arkansas and Missouri since the 2005 season, prior to the Tigers joining the conference.

For more information on Arkansas volleyball and other University of Arkansas athletics, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Razorback volleyball this season with its sport-specific RazorbackVB Facebook and Twitter pages.

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