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Arkansas blocks LSU’s attack in four-game win

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas blocks LSU’s attack in four-game win

Jump to LSU box score FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas posted a near-record 20.0 team blocks in a four-game win over LSU taking sole possession of first place in the Southeastern Conference Western Division Wednesday in Barnhill Arena. Arkansas improved to 11-5 overall and 4-1 in the SEC while LSU fell to 13-3 overall and 3-2 in the league in the 26-30, 30-24, 30-27, 31-29 win. “I told the team that we’ve got to block more balls if we’re going to win this match,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. And Arkansas did just that. The Lady’Backs collected 20.0 team blocks, after snagging 19.0 Sunday in a Western Division win at Alabama. The 20.0 blocks is tied for the second-best in school history in a four-game match and is tied for third overall. Arkansas’ blocking efforts were paced by the SEC Defensive Player of the Week Amy Allison who collected 13 individual blocks in the win. Senior Karla Crose and sophomore Jessica Dorrell added six each for Arkansas. Sophomore libero Ashley Miller posted 24 digs leading Arkansas to a 75-dig night. “Their block made us alter our offense,” said LSU head coach Fran Flory. “When they didn’t get a block, their libero dug everything.” The Lady’Backs finished the night hitting just .178 for the match with four players, Kele Brewer, Denitza Koleva, Allison and Crose, in double-digits. Brewer lead Arkansas with 15 kills and hit .263 while netting five blocks. Koleva added 13 kills and 15 digs, followed by Allison’s 12 kills, .455 hitting percentage and 13 blocks. Crose recorded 11 kills and hit .348 on the night. Arkansas wasn’t sharp in the first game hitting just .182 with just two blocks. “We got out to a slow start,” acknowledged Poole. “It was like we were trying to feel them out and never really got going.” All that changed in game two as the Lady’Backs jumped out early putting together a nearly flawless attack to open a 10-point, 15-5 lead en route to the second frame victory. Arkansas’ block sprang to life behind Allison with five in the frame. The Lady’Backs really didn’t hit statistically well in the second game recording just a .133 hitting percentage but Arkansas held the Tigers to a .000 mark and posted seven team blocks in the seven-point win. The third game was much more indicative of what insiders thought the entire match would be like. A sea-saw battle from the first serve, neither team was able to establish firm control of the momentum or scoring. Arkansas scratched its way out to a six point lead at 20-14, but the Tigers were never really down clawing their way back within two. Poole burned a timeout with Arkansas up 26-24. The teams exchanged points before LSU took a timeout at game point with Arkansas leading 29-27 but Koleva put the game away lacing a shot down the right sideline for the win. The fourth game again saw the Lady’Backs take an early lead but LSU stayed close finally regaining the advantage, 9-10, for the first time since the first point of the third game. But Arkansas seemed to settle into a fast-pace rhythm retaking the lead and stretching it to four as the Tigers called for a break. The Lady’Backs went up by as many as five late in the frame but LSU wouldn’t give up tying the game at 26. An Arkansas hitting error gave the Tigers the lead followed by a deep shot to the left corner making it 26-28 and Poole took a timeout. A Tiger kill gave LSU game point but Arkansas held off LSU with a kill from Allison and a block from Allison and Jessica Dorrell forcing their opponent to take the final break. A long rally followed with Brewer finally putting the ball down on the left sideline in front of the screaming fans. Brewer made it back-to-back kills after another long series hitting the ball off the Tiger block and Arkansas finished the match with a block from Allison for the win. Arkansas held off three Tiger game points until tying the frame at 29 behind aggressive serving from Koleva. “Denny ad some big-time serves at the end,” said Poole. “She really stepped up for us. I don’t like coming out flat in game one but I’m glad to see we’re coming back in the games. LSU is a great team. They’re going to beat a lot of people. We felt like this was a must-win at home and we’re glad to get out of here with the victory.” The Lady’Backs return to conference action traveling to Kentucky Friday for a 6:00 p.m., match. The contest can be heard live in the Fayetteville area on KXUA, 88.3 FM, and on the internet at LADYBACKS.COM. Arkansas returns home Tuesday hosting St. Louis at 7:00 p.m., in the first of three consecutive home matches. For more information about Arkansas volleyball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)