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FAYETTEVILLE –It was the hardest-hitting, longest rally match of the 2007 season but it didn’t go the University of Arkansas’ way as the Lady Razorbacks fell in four to Southeastern Conference foe Tennessee in Barnhill Arena Friday.
Arkansas (12-17, 6-13) fell 28-30, 30-28, 27-30, 22-30 to the Lady Vols (11-17, 6-14) in a closely contested match.
Senior Jessica Dorrell led Arkansas with 15 kills and had a double-double with 14 digs. Freshman Heather Royal also had a double-double with 15 kills and 10 digs. Junior Christina Lawrence was Arkansas’ leading hitter with a six-kill, .417 performance while senior Ashley Miller paced Arkansas with 19 digs.
“It was a poorly played match,” said a disappointed Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “We didn’t seem to be prepared.”
Arkansas concludes SEC action Sunday hosting Kentucky on Senior Day in a 1:00 p.m. match. The Lady’Backs have one additional match remaining following the holiday break as they host Connecticut Saturday, Nov. 24, at 1:30 p.m.
Although the first game went Tennessee’s way, Arkansas was in it until the end. The Lady’Backs hit .222 with five kills from Dorrell and Lawrence but the Lady Vols were just a bit better hitting .244 and winning the blocking battle, 4-2.
The second frame saw some of the longest rallies of the season with many points requiring double-digit touches before a point could be won. Arkansas erased a six-point Tennessee lead tying the frame at 27. The Lady’Backs won the next point with a block from freshman Sarah Freudenrich and Royal and the Lady Vols burned their final timeout.
Tennessee got the next kill to tie the game but Dorrell, who was quite in the second frame, notched one of her four kills giving Arkansas the lead.
Fittingly, it was a long rally for the final point that eventually ended with a Tennessee hitting error handing Arkansas a 30-28 win to tie the match at the break.
Arkansas struggled in game three hitting just .105 to Tennessee’s .432. The third stanza was close with Arkansas having a slight lead at 16-14, the Lady’Backs never seemed to have the momentum.
Lawrence re-aggravated a preexisting injury and sat out much of the early and middle part of the game and the Lady Vols took advantage of her absence.
Lawrence was unable to play in the fourth game and it took the Lady’Backs a few points to find their rhythm but Arkansas settled in at the nine-point mark tying the game with an ace from junior Nicole Martin.
But it was all Tennessee from that point on. The Lady Vols out-hit Arkansas .316 to negative .043 and finished the night out-blocking Arkansas 17 to 12.
Sunday’s match is Senior Day and the Lady’Backs will celebrate the careers of Dorrell, Miller and Keli Cole beginning at 1:00 p.m.
For more information about Arkansas volleyball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.