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Arkansas volleyball drops hard-fought battle

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas volleyball drops hard-fought battle

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FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas volleyball team was no match for the steady attack of Alabama dropping a four-game Southeastern Conference contest in Barnhill Arena Friday.

The 19-30, 18-30, 30-24, 25-30 loss drops Arkansas to 10-13 overall and 4-9 in the SEC as the Crimson Tide improved to an SEC Western Division leading 14-9 overall and 11-3 in league play.

“We just don’t have enough players all playing well at the same time,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “We have a couple of players trying to carry us in each game but just can’t get everyone at the same time.”

Arkansas had several bright spots in the match despite the loss. Junior Christina Lawrence paced the team with 13 kills and a .393 hitting percentage. Freshman Sarah Freudenrich led the team with seven blocks helping Arkansas to 13.0 team blocks.

Senior Ashley Miller tallied 25 digs and senior Jessica Dorrell added 20 kills and 13 kills.

Arkansas shook up the lineup to start the match but continued to struggle with unforced errors hitting just .171 against Alabama in the first game. Twelve kills were followed by six hitting errors as the Lady’Backs couldn’t find any momentum.

Freudenrich paced the team with three kills but Arkansas was held without a block for the entire first frame.

The Lady’Backs shuffled the lineup again to start game two but still could not seem to find a spark. The second game was tight early but Alabama took the lead at 9-8, and pulled away from that point. The Crimson Tide was nearly perfect hitting .278 in the game to Arkansas’ .043 mark.

Lawrence emerged in the second game with four kills and a .429 hitting percentage but 12 hitting errors and only 14 kills left Arkansas on the short end of the score.

But Arkansas would not go quietly into the night.

Arkansas found renewed energy in the third frame and, despite the close nature of the score, the Lady’Backs never seemed rattled.

Tied late at 18, it was Arkansas’ turn to run outscoring Alabama 12-6 for the win. Arkansas’ block came to life with six team blocks in the game and proved to be the difference-maker in the win.

That spark carried over in the fourth game as the teams battled their closest game yet. The sea-saw affair saw the teams exchange points until Arkansas opened a four-point lead prompting Alabama to burn a timeout.

Bama scratched its way back into the battle until the teams were tied at 16. Alabama then took a two-point lead as the Lady’Backs burned a timeout.

But the Crimson Tide went on a run fueled by Arkansas miscues down the stretch. The Lady’Backs hit just .122 in the final game as Bama closed with a 14-9 run.

The Lady Razorbacks return to the court Sunday hosting Mississippi State at 1:30 p.m. in Barnhill Arena as SEC action continues. Sunday’s match will air live on KXUA, 88.3 FM in the Northwest Arkansas area and on-line at LADYBACKS.COM.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)