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Straight-Set Win on Senior Day

11/24/2013
Athletic Communications
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FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas volleyball team posted its second home sweep of the weekend Sunday afternoon with a 25-16, 25-16, 25-12 win over Mississippi State on Senior Day. The Razorbacks were paced by a match-high 12 kills from junior Meredith Hays while senior libero Emily Helm led all players with 20 digs to help hold the Bulldogs to a season-low hitting percentage. With Sunday’s victory, Arkansas improves to 16-12 overall and 9-8 in Southeastern Conference play.

“It was a great weekend,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “Not only did we win but we played some great volleyball this weekend. During that last home weekend of the regular season, you want your seniors to go out in style and you want the fans to see the team you’ve become.”

Behind her defensive performance, Helm moved into a tie for 10th place on the program’s career digs list. The Queen Creek, Ariz., native has registered 966 digs in her two-year career as a Razorback, pulling her even on the all-time list with Anna Velikanova. Sunday’s effort was her 11th match with at least 20 digs, eight of which have come during SEC play. Helm now has 32 sets this season with six or more digs, including a 10-dig showing in the first set against MSU.

The Razorbacks’ offense was led by the 12 kills from Hays and 11 kills from freshman Savannah Voelzke, the first double-digit match of her career. Fellow freshman Barbara Dapic capped her weekend with seven kills on 11 swings with just one error, good for a .545 hitting percentage. Senior Raymariely Santos finished the match with 28 assists, eight digs, five kills and five total blocks.

Sunday’s match was controlled the Arkansas’ defense that limited Mississippi State to a -.075 hitting percentage. That mark is the lowest by a Razorback opponent since the 2009 season. Arkansas tallied 50 digs in Sunday’s sweep and added 13.0 total team blocks at the net. Freshman Danielle Harbin led the team’s efforts at the net with a career-high seven total blocks including a solo stuff on match point.

Before the match, Arkansas’ six-player senior class of Helm, Santos, Avery Lewis, Hayley Koop, Clarissa Pavey and Ashley Vazquez was recognized for their respective Razorback careers. The players were joined on the courts by family members and presented their senior plaques by Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long.

“I was trying to stay calm and keep my composure for the team,” Santos said. “But it was really emotional. I’ve been here for four years and it’s best thing that ever happened to me. Knowing that it was my last match at Barnhill is a hard to take in but we managed that pretty well and the rest of the team really supported the seniors.”

Up next, the Razorbacks will travel to No. 4 Missouri for a midweek match. The regular-season finale is set for Nov. 27 at the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo. It will be the second meeting between the two teams this season and Arkansas’ first trip to the Tigers’ home floor since the 2005 season.

For more information on Arkansas volleyball, follow @RazorbackVB on Twitter.

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