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COLUMBIA, SC –Career bests by Heather Royal and Catherine Fowler along with great numbers from Jessica Dorrell and Ashley Miller weren’t enough to lift the University of Arkansas volleyball team to a Southeastern Conference road win at South Carolina Friday.
The Lady Razorbacks suffered a five-game, 24-30, 30-27, 37-35, 27-30, 13-15 loss falling to 10-15 overall and 4-11 in the SEC.
Dorrell paced Arkansas with a near-best 27 kills and was just shy of her career numbers with 18 digs hitting .328 to lead the Lady’Backs. Royal tied her career-best with 18 kills and was one shy with 15 digs while Fowler tallied a career-best 10 blocks. Miller added 28 digs to lead the team. Freshman Hillary McCormick posted a career-best eight kills and six digs keying Arkansas’ win late in the second game.
“It’s a very disappointing loss,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “We fought so hard but we let game four slip away and that seemed to be the difference.”
Arkansas was flat in the first game trailing be as many as eight points before losing the frame but rallied in game two with a tough win.
The third game saw a closer battle until Arkansas pulled away by four, 20-16, but Carolina came right back to tie at 22. The game see-sawed back-and-forth from that point on until a Carolina hitting error and a block from Sarah Freudenrich and McCormick handed Arkansas the win.
But Arkansas couldn’t hold on to the momentum to start the fourth game as they had to play catch up from an early Gamecock lead. The Lady’Backs did just that eventually taking a six-point, 18-12, lead and seemed to have the game in control.
That’s when the home team rallied coming back to tie the game for the first time at 19. Arkansas was able to stay close tied at 26 and again at 27 but a big kill from SC’s Belita Salters swung the momentum to the Gamecocks’ side of the net. Arkansas faltered with back-to-back hitting errors handed South Carolina the fourth-game win.
Somehow the Lady’Backs found energy to start the fifth game and opened a 3-1 lead prompting a quick timeout by South Carolina. The Lady’Backs led 8-6 as the teams changed sides and went up three, 9-6, before Carolina rallied one last time.
Poole burned two quick timeouts trying to stop the South Carolina assault but Salters put the team on her back carrying the Gamecocks to the 15-13 win.
Arkansas returns to SEC action Sunday traveling to No. 10 Florida for a 12:00 p.m. central match. That contest will air live in Northwest Arkansas on KXUA, 88.3 FM and on the internet at LADYBACKS.COM.