– For the second time in three days, the University of Arkansas volleyball team found itself in a fifth set against Kansas. Switching roles from the previous match, the Razorbacks knocked off KU in five sets (25-23, 21-25, 26-24, 12-25, 15-11) Saturday afternoon at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center in Lawrence. Junior Meredith Hays
led all players with 22 kills while senior libero Emily Helm
picked up a match-high 24 digs.
As they did Thursday night in Fayetteville, the Jayhawks won game four to force a decisive, fifth set between the two teams. Kansas held the 8-5 advantage when the teams switched sides but the Razorbacks rattled off six of the next seven points to take an 11-9 lead. Behind a noisy home crowd, Kansas won the next two points to draw even at 11-all.
From that point, however, it was all Arkansas with the team ending the match on a 4-0 run. Hays had two kills during the mini surge. Sophomore Summer Morgan
and freshman Danielle Harbin
teamed up for one final block to send the Razorbacks to the win, snapping the team’s two-match slide.
The Razorbacks jumped out to an early lead in the opening set and led by as much as six when a kill by Hays gave her team a 19-13 advantage. The home team put together a rally to pull even at 22-all but Arkansas responded by winning three of the final four points in the set. Five different Razorbacks had at least two kills in the opener, led by four from freshman Ana Sofia Jusino
in the middle.
Arkansas won six of the first eight points in the second set but the Jayhawks steadied to pull even at 8-all on the scoreboard. The Jayhawks led by three late in the set but Arkansas pulled to within one on a kill by senior Hayley Koop
. However, Kansas ended the set by winning four of the last five points to even the match at one set apiece. Koop finished the match with 15 kills to tie her career high.
The Razorbacks trailed throughout the third set and didn’t take their first lead until Koop found the back line with a kill to give her team the 23-22 advantage. Arkansas never trailed after that point. Koop tallied two more kills late in the set, giving the Razorbacks set points with each swing. On the team’s second opportunity to close out the game, a KU attack landed wide and Arkansas held a 2-1 match lead.
Saturday’s match marked the first time since 2005 that Arkansas faced the same opponent in consecutive matches, and the first-ever time to do so against a non-conference opponent. Prior to today’s match, the Razorbacks played Kentucky in back-to-back matches during the 2005 season.
After three matches in five days, the Razorbacks will return to Fayetteville in preparation for next weekend’s Golden Hurricane Classic in Tulsa, Okla. The two-day tournament will be contested Sept. 13-14 and feature Arkansas, Northern Colorado, Texas State and host Tulsa. The field will feature three teams—Arkansas, Northern Colorado and Tulsa—that advanced to last year’s NCAA Tournament.
For more information on Arkansas volleyball, follow @RazorbackVB on Twitter.