The Lady Razorbacks reached the second round of the 2004 Southeastern Conference Championship last weekend in Gainesville, Fla. Arkansas opened with a five-game win over LSU on Friday. The Lady’Backs won the first two games, LSU took the next two and Arkansas rallied to win game five. Arkansas managed to win game one over No. 12 Tennessee in the second round but the Lady Vols controlled the rest of the match in the four-game Lady’Back loss.
It was a big week for Arkansas in terms of hardware from the SEC. The Lady’Backs opened with lone senior Jennifer Haaser being named to the Southeastern Conference’s Good Works Team. An athlete from each SEC team is selected to the Good Works team based on her community service. Haaser’s off-the-court service included a couple of trips to Honduras where she aided in several building projects, as well as local events such as food drives and clothing drives around the holidays.
Haaser continued to “cleanup” at SECs also earning second-team honors at the banquet Thursday evening. It was Haaser’s third selection to the all-conference team in her four-year playing career (2001 SEC Freshman of the Year, 2001 second team honors in 2001 and 2003). Haaser’s success out of the gym was also recognized by the SEC with the Fort Smith, Ark., native earning SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors. She is the first volleyball player in school history to earn this honor.
The Lady’Backs also posted a pair of players on the all-SEC Freshman Team. Jessica Dorrell and Ashley Miller each earned recognition by the league’s coaches.
Finally, sophomore Kele Brewer stepped up with 19 kills in each of Arkansas’ tournament matches earning SEC all-Tournament Team honors Sunday. Brewer was nearly unstoppable hitting better than .300 Friday against LSU and matched her kill total with 19 against No. 12 Tennessee Saturday.
About Chris Poole
The Lady Razorbacks have known only one coach in the program’s history Chris Poole. Since accepting the head coaching job at Arkansas Poole and the Lady’Backs have won a share of 10 of the first 11 SEC Western Division titles and reached the SEC Tournament finals eight times winning in 1997. Poole and the Lady’Backs have amassed a 266-115 all-time record and a 133-35 SEC record. Poole’s career record has grown to 500-184 in 18 seasons with a 198-39 all-time record in conference play.
About Number 500
Head coach Chris Poole’s 500 win went mostly under the radar last weekend. The career milestone came at the SEC Tournament with a thrilling five-game win over LSU in the first round on Friday. Poole has coached 18 seasons as a head coach including 11 at Arkansas.
TCU enters the weekend with a 21-9 overall record after suffering a five-game loss to Memphis in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament. The Horned Frogs enter the week hitting .263 paced by Anna Vaughn hitting .326. The teams do have a couple common opponents this season. Both teams have lost to nationally-ranked Illinois and Santa Clara and both have defeated Houston this year.
Arkansas versus the Horned Frogs
This is the first meeting between Arkansas and TCU.
About Southern Methodist
Southern Methodist enters the weekend with an even 13-13 record after suffering a three-game loss to No. 2 Hawai’i in the first round of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. Senior Beth Karasek was named a unanimous All-WAC first team selection by the league’s coaches Nov. 16. This is her-third All-WAC award. She was second-team All-WAC in 2001 and 2003. Through Nov. 13, Karasek led the WAC in league outings with 250 kills and 5.43 kills per game and was fifth in digs at 4.39 per game. She is the only player to be in the top-five of both categories. She also leads the WAC with 20 double-doubles on the season.
Arkansas versus the Mustangs
Arkansas holds a 1-0 series advantage over SMU. The Lady’Backs downed the Mustangs in the teams only meeting in 1996.
Numbers paint the picture
Arkansas’ statistical numbers are down this year. The most notable is the team’s hitting percentage which stands at .182 heading into the weekend. That mark, along with the overall number of kills (1697), total attempts (4659), kills per game (14.14) and assists (1520) are all the lowest they have ever been in the program’s history. Arkansas can still improve on its numbers with at least two matches remaining.
Arkansas by games
The Lady Razorbacks are 5-4 in three games, 4-8 in four games and 7-2 in five games this year. Arkansas is 14-15 in game one, 14-16 in game two, 12-18 in game three, 11-9 in game four and 7-2 in game five this year.
Can you dig it?
Freshman libero Ashley Miller should find her name in the Arkansas record books after her first season of collegiate play. Miller leads the team in digs with 475 heading into the Texas weekend. The freshman record was 430 set by Krystal Osborne in Arkansas’ inaugural season in 1994 and Miller broke that mark in a 29-dig performance against SMS in Arkansas’ final match before the SEC Tournament. She is averaging 3.96 dpg and if Arkansas plays just three games in its remaining two matches she would tally 498.76 digs. That would make her third all-time. The single-season record is 503 set by Krystal Osborne in 147 games during the 1995 season.
In addition to Miller’s single-season success the freshman has had 23 matches with double-digit dig totals. She had 12 consecutive matches with 10 or more digs and eight matches this year with 20 or more digs. Miller has collected 29 digs twice this year just shy of the 31 by an individual record held by Amanda Sweatt during the 1994 season.
The Great Wall of Arkansas
The Lady Razorbacks are known for blocking and have consistently ranked among the SEC and NCAA leaders for blocks throughout the program’s history. This year Arkansas has had 20 of its 30 matches in which the team has recorded double-digit block totals. The Lady’Backs have had streaks of six then seven consecutive double-digit block matches with the most recent streak broken in Columbia when Arkansas recorded just nine blocks at South Carolina. Arkansas has posted 12 double-digit block matches in 16 SEC matches this year.
More about the Block (as of last week)
Arkansas ranks 14th this week in the NCAA blocking statistics entering the week averaging 3.12 bpg. The Lady’Backs hosted SMS who was second with a 3.51 bpg average. Arkansas bettered SMS this week recording 18 blocks to the Bears 11 in the come-from-behind win. In addition Arkansas held SMS’ Sabrina Apker who ranks second in the country to just three blocks assists.
Despite Arkansas’ lower-than-usual hitting percentage this year the Lady’Backs have done a good job defensively keeping opponent’s hitting percentages low as well. Arkansas’ opponents are hitting just .185 against the Lady’Backs and Arkansas has held opponents below the .200 mark in 16 matches. Recently Arkansas had an eight-match streak in which they have contained opponents to a less-than-.200 mark (prior to LSU’s .215 mark Nov. 12). Arkansas was 6-2 in those eight matches.
Hard to come by
Arkansas has only recorded more kills than its opponent 10 times this year. Arkansas is 9-1 when they have more kills with the lone loss coming at No. 15 Tennessee Nov. 5, in Knoxville. Arkansas has out-hit its opponent 14 times this year and had a streak of seven matches snapped at South Carolina. The Lady’Backs are 14-1 when out-hitting its opponent with the lone loss coming at No. 15 Tennessee.
To error is human
An Arkansas has had its fare share of unforced mistakes this year. The Lady’Backs have committed 1487 errors (hitting, service, reception, blocking and ball handling) this year. On the bright side – Arkansas’ opponents have committed just as many 1503- this year. The negatives for the Lady’Backs include reception errors (when the other team gets an ace serve). Arkansas has posted 197 reception errors to its opponent’s 166. Arkansas has also committed more blocking errors (in the net) 91 to 90 and more ball handling errors (lifts) 99 to 57 this year.
On a high note
The Lady’Backs have had several great performances from many different athletes. Here’s a quick look at some of the season highs: Jessica Dorrell had the highest hitting percentage of the year with a .667 (13-1-18) mark at Alabama. Jennifer Haaser recorded a season-best 24 kills against SMS and Kele Brewer had 63 total attempts against No. 12 Tennessee at the SEC Tournament. Jennifer Haaser scored 29.5 points against SMS and Iva Docekalova recorded 68 assists against Pacific early in the season. Ashley Miller tallied 29 digs against Kentucky and SMS and Haaser, Karla Crose and Jessica Dorrell have each recorded 12 blocks in a match this year.
Jennifer Haasers Career Records Watch
Lone senior Jennifer Haaser continues to climb in the career records lists. She currently ranks tied for sixth for kills with 1,268. Here’s a quick look at some of her other numbers heading into the weekend: 13th in kills per game (2.65), fifth in attack attempts (3107); 16th in hitting percentage (.236); eighth in service aces (103); second in service attempts (1557); ninth in digs (760); second in block solos (99); third in block assists (538), third in total blocks (637); fourth in blocks per game (1.33) and fourth in points (1739).
The Rest of the Team
Some of Haaser’s teammates are also climbing the career charts. Here’s a few notables: Dentiza Koleva is 14th in kills (691), 12th in kpg (2.83), 13th in total attempts (2028); Kele Brewer is 15th in kills (691), ninth in kpg (2.94), 14th in total attempts (1883) ; Karla Crose is 19th in kills (380); Iva Docekalova is fifth in assists (1008); Amanda Eskridge is seventh in assists (536); Docekalova is fourth in aces (111), fourth in sapg (0.31), first in service attempts (1766), 12th in digs (673); Crose is 13th in block solos (13), 10th in block assists (238), and 12th in total blocks (251).