Arkansas makes it six in a row
The Lady Razorbacks worked through a long road trip winning three matches and the tournament title at the Jefferson Cup Invitational hosted by Virginia. Arkansas has won six matches in a row since dropping the season opener to Georgia Tech Aug. 24.
More tournaments await
Arkansas takes part in the final regular season tournament this weekend traveling to Destiny Clark’s hometown of Manhattan, Kansas, for the Varney’s KSU Invitational. Arkansas faces Fresno State, Northern Iowa and the host Wildcats in the two-day event.
Dorrell earns all-tournament team – Again
Senior Jessica Dorrell made it two in a row earning Jefferson Cup MVP honors. Dorrell, who was also the MVP of the Clarion Inn Invitational last weekend, leads the team with 4.33 kills per game and 117 kills. She is hitting .309 on the year with 47 digs and 22 blocks through the first seven matches.
Lawrence also honored – Again
Junior Christina Lawrence earned her second consecutive all-tournament team honor in Virginia as well. Lawrence is hitting .365 this year with 85 kills, 3.54 kills per game, 10 digs and 20 blocks. Lawrence was also selected to the Clarion Inn Invitational last weekend.
Catherine Fowler earns first all-tournament team honor
Sophomore Catherine Fowler earned her first all-tournament team honor as a collegiate volleyball player at the Jefferson Cup last weekend. Fowler is second on the team with 26 blocks and a 1.13 block per game average. She is hitting .313 with 31 kills and a 1.78 kill per game average.
Taking care of business
Arkansas defeated Norfolk State Sept. 2, in a match that took just 54 minutes to play making it one of the shortest in recent memory – certainly since moving to rally scoring. The Lady’Backs held NSU to just nine points in game two – the least points scored by an opponent since going to the 30-point, rally scoring in 2001 (excluding game fives).
Miller moves up
Senior Ashley Miller started the season with 1556 career digs and was in second place among all of Arkansas’ players. She has 98 through the first two weekends giving the Vacacaville, Calif., native 1,654 career digs – just five shy of the school record. The record is 1,659 held by Krystal Osborne (1994-97). Osborne played in 543 career games and was a member of the inaugural team in 1997 – before the collegiate game recognized the libero position.
Also moving on up
Senior Jessica Dorrell is just outside the 1,000-kill milestone. The Aledo, Texas, native heads into the Kansas State weekend with 920 career kills and ranks 12th all-time.
Also a good number
Arkansas has used two setters to run the offense for several seasons and not since the first four years of the program have the Lady Razorbacks had a setter who set nearly every ball for four seasons (Tina Rico). That being said, reaching statistical milestones as a setter is difficult when you split time. Both of Arkansas current setters, Nicole Martin and Lindsay Scanlan, are approaching the 1,000-assist milestone. Although no where near the record of 5,886 assists held by Rico, 1,000 is still a good number. In fact, only five setters have 1,000 or more assists. Martin enters the K-State weekend with 944 and Scanlan has 833.
The 6-1 start
Arkansas is 6-1 to start the year, dropping the opener to Georgia Tech before winning its next six contests. The Lady’Backs were also 6-1 to start last season winning the first six before losing to No. 16 BYU at Kansas in tournament play. Arkansas has started the year 7-1 three times, 1996, 1999 and 2002.
Compared to last year
Arkansas was also 6-1 to start the 2006 season and the numbers are pretty similar. This year, the Lady’Backs are averaging 15.7 kills per game, hitting .261, averaging 14.0 assists per game, 2.7 service aces per game, 12.3 digs per game and 2.7 blocks per game. In 2006 Arkansas averaged 15.37 kpg, hit .232, had 13.63 apg, 1.37 sapg, 16.37 dpg and 2.78 bpg. Last year’s leaders included Christina Lawrence who hit .268 through the first seven matches with 49 kills. Jessica Dorrell was second on the team at that point with 94 kills, 3.48 kpg and had a .207 hitting percentage.
Arkansas’ 2007 season bests
As the season is just underway, Arkansas has set a couple of season-bests. The season-best for kills is 80 in the five-game win over Pepperdine. Arkansas also recorded 198 total attempts, 72 assists, 68 digs and 14 blocks against Pepperdine as well.
Service ace record falls
Arkansas recorded 19 service aces against Norfolk State setting a school record for unreturnable serves. That mark bests the previous mark of 15 set twice against Auburn in 2001 and 2003. Sophomore Lindsay Scanlan paced Arkansas with eight aces – just one shy of the invidivual record of nine held by Ann Velikanova (2000-02) against Oklahoma in 2000.
Dorrell hitting the ball well
We noted earlier that senior Jessica Dorrell was hitting the ball well. She has recorded double-figure kills in each of Arkansas’ seven matches with a career-best 26 kills in the win over Pepperdine. She has also hit better than .300 in three matches this year.
Arkansas faces first ranked opponent
The Lady Razorbacks take on Kansas State in the opening match of tournament play this weekend. The Wildcats are the first team ranked in the top 25 that the Lady Razorbacks face this year. KSU moved up from No. 25 in the first poll to No. 22 this week.
The poll is good to Arkansas
Arkansas also moves up in the voting for the CSTV/AVCA Coaches Poll. The Lady’Backs were mentioned last week with 10 votes but improved their numbers getting 24 votes this week. A couple of weekend wins would surely see Arkansas continue to climb.
Others in the poll
The Lady Razorbacks also face No. 6 Florida and No. 21 LSU later this season. Tennessee and Ole Miss are both getting votes in the polls and could move up as the season progresses.
Arkansas has one of its biggest classes of newcomers
The Lady Razorbacks welcome a class of six newcomers to start the 2007 season. Although the six are new to the fans and media, a couple are pretty familiar with the team. Yun (Karen) Tang, Sarah Freudenrich and Heather Royal all joined the team at semester in January and have gone through the spring workouts. Phoebe Bautista, Lauren Feilding and Hillary McCormick all arrived on campus this summer and worked Chris Poole’s summer camps.
Arkansas is the SEC’s odd team out
The SEC has 11 teams that sponsor volleyball (Vanderbilt does not have a team). Each year there is one team who does not rotate through the conference schedule with a travel partner. This year, that team is Arkansas. As a result, the Lady Razorbacks do not play a mid-week conference match. In fact, Arkansas has only one match this year that does not fall on a weekend and that is a Tuesday match against Oral Roberts Aug. 28. It also means that instead of facing Mississippi and Mississippi State in the same weekend or Alabama and Auburn, the schedule is much more varied – and travel is much more interesting.
Another SEC reminder
The SEC eliminated the conference tournament last year instead opting for a double-round robin format in which teams play each other twice during the course of the season. That format continues for the 2007 season.
Poole returns for 14th season
Arkansas head coach Chris Poole enters his 14th season at the helm of the Lady Razorbacks. Poole is the only coach Arkansas has ever known and he has guided the Lady’Backs to a 309-143 (through 9/3/07) record during his tenure. Holly Watts returns has Poole’s associate head coach and the Lady’Backs welcome the addition of Gokhan Yilmaz who joins the team as an assistant coach this fall.
Challenging schedule awaits
Arkansas faces a tough non-conference schedule before jumping into the teeth of the Southeastern Conference rotation in mid-September. The Lady’Backs open with a home tournament followed by a match with NCAA Tournament participant Oral Roberts Aug. 28. Back-to-back tournaments following with the Lady’Backs traveling to Virginia for the first time in program history. They face Temple, Norfolk State and Virginia. Next the Lady’Backs head to Manhattan, Kan., for tournament play facing the host Wildcats along with Fresno State and Northern Iowa. The Lady’Backs then begin a home-and-away series with each of the SEC teams. Seven SEC teams including Arkansas made trips to the NCAA Tournament last year and most return significantly more offense than Arkansas. Those teams are Ole Miss, LSU, Alabama and Tennessee who, along with Arkansas, made it to the first round; Kentucky who advanced to the second round and Florida who was a regional finalist.
Arkansas picks up TV match
Although the Lady Razorbacks were not selected for an SEC match of the week, Arkansas is still making a television appearance. Sun Sports will pick up the Fayetteville match between the Lady Razorbacks and Florida. More details will follow on the times and talent.
Can I get on the internet please?
Every Lady Razorback volleyball match will be carried on the internet in some capacity this year. Every Lady Razorback home match will have live stats, a live audio broadcast and a live video broadcast of the event. Fans can find those at LADYBACKS.COM. All road SEC matches will have audio on LADYBACKS.COM and most will have live stats on either the host site or LADYBACKS.COM. The radio broadcasts for all road SEC matches can also be heard in the Fayetteville area on KXUA, 88.3 FM.
Lady’Backs tabbed third in SEC West
Arkansas was picked to finish third in the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division the league office announced Tuesday, Aug. 14. Arkansas finished the year 16-13 last year and made its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006. The Lady’Backs return 10 players from last year’s team and welcome six newcomers for the 2007 season.