Second Time’s the Charm
Arkansas and the of the league started back through the Southeastern Conference schedule meeting teams for the second time this year. The Lady’Backs opened the 2006 SEC season at Kentucky followed by a match at then No. 13 Tennessee. Arkansas dropped both of those matches and avenged those losses with big home wins over both teams.
Arkansas traveled to South Carolina and Georgia last weekend winning both matches. The Lady’Backs won both of the first meetings, downing the Gamecocks in four and the Bulldogs in three in Barnhill Arena.
The first time since….
Arkansas got three game wins at South Carolina and at Georgia last weekend. It was the first time since 2001 that the Lady Razorbacks swept a pair of league opponents in three games each on the road.
Another new starting lineup
The Lady Razorbacks have used seven starting lineups this year. Injury and illness have forced the shuffling of the starters and the order in which they start. The lineup changed again last weekend when Kele Brewer was hurt before the South Carolina match. Opponents watch out you don’t know whose lining up against you.
Four in a row
Arkansas has won for matches in a row defeating No. 25 Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina and Georgia. The wins against the Lady Vols and the Wildcats were “make up” wins avenging earlier losses.
Home schedule dwindling
Arkansas has just three regular season home matches remaining. The Lady’Backs host Florida and Auburn this weekend and welcome Alabama in two weeks.
The end is near
The Lady’Backs have just six regular season matches remaining three home and three on the road. Arkansas, along with the rest of the country, are hoping for a post-season bid. Selections for the 64-team tournament will be announced after Thanksgiving weekend.
Doubles come to an end
Senior Denitza Koleva had a streak of 10 double-doubles in a row and has posted 17 in 22 matches this year. Her streak came to an end at Georgia when Koleva recorded 12 kills and only three digs. The Lady’Backs only needed three digs from Koleva in the quick win against the Bulldogs.
Four in double figures
Arkansas had four players in double figure kills against Georgia paced by 13 from senior Amy Allison. Senior Denitza Koleva added 12, followed by 10 each from sophomore Christina Lawrence and redshirt freshman Destiny Clark.
Number two all-time
Senior Denitza Koleva has moved into the number two spot all-time for career kills at Arkansas last weekend. Koleva entered the weekend with 1454 behind Kim Storey (1995-98) who has 1471. Koleva added 31 this weekend (19 versus South Carolina and 12 at Georgia) bringing her total to 1485 and moving her into the number two spot. Krystal Osborne (1994-97) holds the top spot with 2,185 career kills.
You hit what?
Senior Amy Allison hit .800 in the win against Georgia. Allison recorded 13 kills, one error and had 15 attempts. Sophomore Christina Lawrence hit .714 in the win with 10 kills, no errors and 14 attempts for Arkansas.
Wins make the difference
Arkansas was in 10th place in the Southeastern Conference just four matches ago but four wins have moved the Lady’Backs up to a tie for fifth (with Kentucky) in the standings.
NCAA announced some numbers
The NCAA recently released the first RPI ranking and the Lady’Backs are 29th on the list. Only two other SEC teams are ahead of Arkansas. They are Florida at No. 8 and LSU at No. 11. This is the only NCAA RPK that will be announced during the season. Seven SEC teams are in the top 64. See the list on the right.
How does that compare?
Arkansas has kept a close watch on the unofficial Rich Kern RKPI rankings published weekly by a volleyball insider. The RKPI closely mirrors the NCAA RPI although the formula is not exactly the same. Arkansas ranks 28th in the RKPI this week.
Koleva posts career-best in win
Senior Denitza Koleva had a career-best 29 kills in the win over Kentuck. She had 64 total attempts and hit .264 for Arkansas in the four-game win.
More about Koleva
Denitza Koleva also holds the top five spots for points in a match this season highlighted by a pair of 22.5 point performances. The first came against Sacramento State and the second came at Auburn. She had 22.0 against Mississippi and 20.0 against nationally-ranked LSU and Tennessee.
Double-doubles for others
In addition to Koleva’s back-to-back double-doubles last weekend, Jessica Dorrell had a double against No. 25 Tennessee with 12 kills and 11 digs. Kele Brewer added her second double of the year against Kentucky with 10 kills and 10 digs. See the list at the bottom of page two.
Win Number 300
The Arkansas volleyball program began in 1994 and began the 2006 season with 288 total wins. The Lady’Backs have 14 wins in 2006 bringing the total to 302. Number 300 came against Kentucky. Arkansas is 151-46 all-time in Southeastern Conference matches and head coach Chris Poole’s career record is 536-205.
Several Lady Razorbacks are climbing in the record books. The complete career top 10 is listed later in this release. Here’s a couple key categories of note.
Senior Denitza Koleva became the 10th player in school history to record her career 1,000th kill last year and she has steadily moved up the top 10 list into the number two spot this week. Teammate and fellow senior Kele Brewer soon followed with her 1000th kill in 2005 and is now 10th with 1164. Also climbing: Jessica Dorrell is 16th with 734 and Amy Allison is 17th with 683.
Junior Ashley Miller is on track to completely rewrite the Arkansas dig records. Miller holds the single match record with 36 recently set against Mississippi in 2006 and ranks first in career digs per game with a 4.29 average. She also became the six player in school history to reach 1,000 career digs and is currently second all-time and is on pace to rank first by the end of the 2006 season. Senior Denitza Koleva is the only other Lady’Back to rank in the top 20. She is ninth with 971 career digs.
Senior Amy Allison continues to move up the blocking records. Allison ranks ninth in block solos with 57. Senior Denitza Koleva is 18th with 18. Allison is fifth on the block assists list with 417, followed by Jessica Dorrell who is 10th with 293, and Koleva who is 15th with 229.
Allison leads the team in total blocks as well with 474 to rank fourth all-time. Dorrell is 12th with 303 and Koleva is tied for 15th with 247.
Digs and Kills
Athletes who finish their careers in the top 10 statistically in any given category can look back on their accomplishment with satisfaction. Arkansas has several players who rank in the top 10 in more than one category – specifically kills and digs. Senior Denitza Koleva is the most recent addition to the list.
How about three?
If you look at the note above, you realize what an exclusive group it is to rank in the top 10 for both digs and kills. What if you throw in service aces? Kim Storey, Denitza Koleva, Jamie Rohme, Krystal Osborne and Yarleen Santiago remain.
That’s too much!
Let’s add total blocks. Kim Storey and Yarleen Santiago are the only two Lady’Backs in the history of the program to rank in the top 10 in all four categories. However, Denitza Koleva, Jamie Rohme and Krystal Osborne are all in the top 20 for total blocks with Koleva (the only current player on the list) ranking 17th in total blocks.
Auburn comes into Fayetteville having lost its last four matches. The Tigers most recent win was a five-game victory over Arkansas in Auburn. The Tigers Auburn is 12-13 overall and 4-10 in the SEC with wins over Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. The Tigers are hitting .199 as a team paced by Julie Bosler who leads the team with a .348 hitting percentage. Bosler has 162 kills a 1.72 kill per game average and is tops for the Tigers with 109 blocks and a 1.16 block per game average.
Arkansas versus the Tigers
Arkansas leads the all-time series record 24-2 against the Tigers but Auburn won the most recent meeting this year in five at Auburn. Prior to that, Arkansas had won 18 in a row.
Last time against Auburn
AUBURN, Ala. University of Arkansas senior Denitza Koleva posted a season-best 21 kills and a career-best 22 digs but couldn’t lift the Lady Razorbacks to the Southeastern Conference win at Auburn Sunday.
Auburn improved to 12-9 overall and 4-6 in the SEC while Arkansas falls to 10-8 and 3-7 in the league with the 30-17, 28-30, 32-34, 30-24, 15-17 loss. It is just the second win in program history for the Tigers over Arkansas and the first since the 1996 season. Koleva’s solid performance was match-long as she hit nearly .400 in the first game as the Lady’Backs dominated the Tigers. But the second game began with six consecutive Auburn service aces followed by an Arkansas ball handling error as the Tigers opened a 7-0 lead to start the frame. The Lady’Backs battled back with a solid run in which they chipped away at the lead tying the game at 14. The Lady’Backs took the lead but never really controlled the momentum letting the Tigers play close until the frame was again tied at 27. A big block followed by an Arkansas ball handling error gave Auburn a lead they would not surrender and the match was tied heading into the locker room. The third game favored Arkansas from the first serve and the Lady’Backs quickly got out to game point, 29-22, seeming to have the game firmly in their hands. But the Tigers had other plans and began chipping away at the lead with a 6-0 run to tie the game at 29. A side-out battle followed and it was the Tigers who came out with the 34-32 win. Arkansas was again better in the fourth game returning to their game one energy. The Lady’Backs rebounded with a .267 hitting percentage out-hitting Auburn in the game forcing a fifth game. The Lady’Backs seemed to have the momentum on their side in the final game but Auburn quickly scratched its way back into the game taking an 8-6 lead as the team’s changed sides at the halfway point. Arkansas trailed by as many as four but stayed focused and tied the game at 14. The sea-saw battle followed with a kill from senior Kele Brewer tying the game for the final time at 15. Arkansas committed back-to-back hitting errors on aggressive plays but lost the game.
Florida continues its strangle hold on the Southeastern Conference entering the weekend with a 20-2 overall mark and a 13-1 SEC record. Their lone loss came at the hands of South Carolina in four games in Columbia earlier this season. Florida is hitting .296 as a team statistically led by Kelsey Bowers and Kristina Johnson. Bowers leads the team with a .440 average with 187 kills and Johnson is hitting .429 with 146 kills. Kisya Killingsworth leads the team with 262 kills and a 3.64 kill per game average and is hitting .240 followed by Amber McCray with 228 kills, 3.56 kpg and a .362 hitting percentage in a very balanced offense.
Arkansas versus the Gators
Arkansas is 1-22 all-time against Florida and the Lady’Backs have lost the last 16 matches including a three-game loss in Gainesville earlier this year.
Last time against Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. University of Arkansas senior Denitza Koleva collected a match-leading 16 kills but it wasn’t enough to lift the Lady Razorbacks over No. 8 Florida in Gainesville, Fla., Friday.
Koleva hit .244 but the Lady’Backs (10-7, 3-6) fell to the hard-hitting Gators (15-2, 8-1) 24-30, 21-30, 27-30 in front of a near-record 5,722 fans in the O’Connell Center.
“Denny had a very good match tonight,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “I thought we gave a good effort but we just couldn’t get the win. We worked hard but gave up a few runs that were the difference-maker.”