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FAYETTEVILLE –The University of Arkansas suffered a five-game Southeastern Conference loss to Kentucky in the final league match of the year in Barnhill Arena Sunday.
Arkansas (12-18, 6-14 SEC) fell 27-30, 30-20, 21-30, 30-23, 14-16 to Kentucky (22-9, 13-7 SEC) as the Lady’Backs celebrated Senior Day.
Arkansas hosts non-conference Connecticut Saturday, Nov. 24, at 1:30 p.m. in Barnhill Arena in the final match of the 2007 season. Seniors Jessica Dorrell, Kelli Cole and Ashley Miller will play in their final matches as Lady’Backs.
Dorrell lead Arkansas with 18 kills and five block assists while freshman Heather Royal added 16 kills and 17 digs. Junior Christina Lawrence tallied 11 kills and hit .300 and sophomore Catherine Fowler had eight kills, hit .333 and had seven blocks.
Freshman Sarah Freudenrich paced Arkansas with 11 blocks as the Lady’Backs out-blocked the Wildcats 18-17 in the loss.
“We had a really good effort today,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “We would have liked the win but came up a bit short in some key situations. We knew Kentucky was a very good team. They have probably one of the best setters and two of the best middles in the SEC. Some of our players made some good strides today but it just didn’t go our way.”
The battle was defined by the fifth game as the back-and-forth battle saw the teams tied at11 late in the frame. Kentucky scored on a block and Poole burned a timeout. Arkansas answered with a kill from Dorrell and the Wildcats came back with a kill from their leader Queen Nzenwa. Nzenwa finished with 15.
Kentucky then took the lead, 13-12, on an Nzenwa kill but Royal stepped up with a point for the Lady’Backs and the score would again be tied. The teams exchanged points to tie again at 14 when Kentucky got a kill and a block to win the match.
The first game had Arkansas leading 21-18 to force Kentucky to call the first timeout of the opening stanza. The Wildcats made quick work of the deficit erasing Arkansas’ lead and vaulting ahead 24-22 prompting Poole to take Arkansas’ first timeout.
Arkansas clawed its way back within one trailing 27-26, but was never able to regain the lead falling 27-30.
The Lady’Backs dominated the second game winning 30-19 while hitting .289 with 15 kills in an efficient effort. Arkansas tied the game at seven and took the lead with a block from Kristin Seaton and Freudenrich. The Lady’Backs would never surrender the lead.
Kentucky tried to slow the attack taking a timeout with Arkansas leading 10-7 and traded points with Kentucky until the visitor’s called their final timeout trailing 17-13.
Arkansas out-scored Kentucky 13-6 sailing to the second-frame win.
For all of Arkansas’ success in the second game, Kentucky wrestled back the momentum in game three running out to a 10-2 lead as the Lady’Backs struggled with unforced errors.
Arkansas hit zero in game three with 11 kills and 11 hitting errors while Kentucky collected 17 kills and six blocks in a convincing win.
The momentum pendulum swung back to the Arkansas side of the net in the fourth game as the Lady’Backs were nearly flawless hitting .351 while holding Kentucky to a .143 mark. Catherine Fowler stepped up with four kills and hit .667 with a pair of blocks as the Lady’Backs out-blocked the Wildcats 6-2.
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