The end is nearArkansas has just two regular season matches remaining in the 2006 season. The Lady’Backs travel to Mississippi on Nov. 17 and is at Mississippi State Nov. 19.
Arkansas’ “new” seasonThe Lady Razorbacks went through the first 10 SEC matches with a disappointing 3-7 record. The team re-dedicated themselves to the season and are 6-2 in the second half or “new” season. Arkansas has avenged losses to Kentucky, No. 25 Tennessee, Auburn and Alabama during the stretch.
15 wins a milestoneArkansas defeated Alabama Sunday for the program’s 16th win of the 2006 season. Arkansas has won at least 15 matches in each season since the program’s inaugural year in 1994. The Lady’Backs were 16-14 in 2000 marking the lowest win total for a single season. The Lady’Backs are tied and looking to surpass that 16-win mark yet this season.
Speaking of milestonesThe Lady’Backs entered the 2007 season with a 288-129 overall mark and a 144-40 mark in SEC matches. Arkansas’ 16 wins this year bring the all-time record to 304-139 all-time and their 9-9 league record improves the all-time SEC numbers to 153-49.
Denitza Koleva posts good numbersSenior Denitza Koleva’s season numbers are good enough to earn her post-season honors this year. Koleva started the season with six consecutive double-doubles, had a run of 10 consecutive double-doubles and has posted double-doubles in 20 of Arkansas’ 26 matches this year. She is hitting a career-best .260 and had a career-best 29 kills and 64 total attempts against Kentucky. She had a career-best four service aces against North Carolina and 22 digs at Auburn.
Another feather for KolevaDenitza Koleva became just the seventh player in school history to record her career 1,000th-dig. Koleva reached the mark with her 14th dig against No. 7 Florida Sunday, Nov. 5. Koleva is just the fifth player in school history to have both 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in her career.
Don’t send me on the roadThe Southeastern Conference road schedule has been tough on every team in the league this year. Arkansas is 4-6 overall on the road and just 2-6 in the SEC on the road (South Carolina and Georgia). No. 7 Florida and No. 11 LSU are the only two SEC teams with winning road records. This weekend, the Lady’Backs travel to Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The Lady Rebels are 5-3 in SEC home matches. State is also 5-3 in their home gym.
The Season — Part IIAfter starting the SEC season with a 3-7 mark, the Lady Razorbacks refocused and rededicated themselves to the last 10 league matches. Arkansas has played to a 6-2 SEC record in this “new” season with losses to No. 7 Florida and No. 11 LSU. The Lady’Backs have avenged earlier season losses to Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky and Tennessee during the stretch and have an opportunity to sweep MSU and avenge a loss to Ole Miss this weekend. In addition, all of Arkansas statistics are much-improved. Here’s a look at Arkansas numbers through the first 10 SEC matches compared to the last eight.
NCAA announced some numbersThe NCAA recently released the first RPI ranking and the Lady’Backs are 29th on the list. Only two other SEC teams are ahead of Arkansas. They are Florida at No. 8 and LSU at No. 11. This is the only NCAA RPK that will be announced during the season. Seven SEC teams are in the top 64. See the list on the right.
How does that compare?Arkansas has kept a close watch on the unofficial Rich Kern RKPI rankings published weekly by a volleyball insider. The RKPI closely mirrors the NCAA RPI although the formula is not exactly the same. Arkansas ranks 28th in the RKPI this week.
Career NumbersSeveral Lady Razorbacks are climbing in the record books. The complete career top 10 is listed later in this release. Here’s a couple key categories of note.
KillsSenior Denitza Koleva became the 10th player in school history to record her career 1,000th kill last year and she has steadily moved up the top 10 list into the number two spot becoming just the second player in school history to surpass 1500 career kills. Koleva has 1557 career kills. Teammate and fellow senior Kele Brewer soon followed with her 1000th kill in 2005 and is now 10th with 1185. Also climbing: Jessica Dorrell is 16th with 772 and Amy Allison is 17th with 750.
DigsJunior Ashley Miller is on track to completely rewrite the Arkansas dig records. Miller holds the single match record with 36 set against Mississippi in 2006 and ranks first in career digs per game with a 4.28 average. She also became the six player in school history to reach 1,000 career digs and is currently second all-time with 1516. Senior Denitza Koleva ranks sixth with 1028 career digs and senior Kele Brewer is 19th with 525 career digs.
Total BlocksSenior Amy Allison continues to move up the blocking records. Allison ranks tied for eighth in block solos with 62. Senior Denitza Koleva is 18th with 18. Allison is fifth on the block assists list with 434, followed by Jessica Dorrell who is ninth with 304, and Koleva who is 13th with 238. Allison leads the team in total blocks as well with 496 to rank fifth all-time. Dorrell is 11th with 314 and Koleva is 15th with 256.
Digs and KillsAthletes who finish their careers in the top 10 statistically in any given category can look back on their accomplishment with satisfaction. Arkansas has several players who rank in the top 10 in more than one category – specifically kills and digs. Senior Denitza Koleva is the most recent addition to the list.
How about three?If you look at the note above, you realize what an exclusive group it is to rank in the top 10 for both digs and kills. What if you throw in service aces? Kim Storey, Denitza Koleva, Jamie Rohme, Krystal Osborne and Yarleen Santiago remain.
That’s too much!Let’s add total blocks. Kim Storey and Yarleen Santiago are the only two Lady’Backs in the history of the program to rank in the top 10 in all four categories. However, Denitza Koleva, Jamie Rohme and Krystal Osborne are all in the top 20 for total blocks with Koleva (the only current player on the list) ranking 15th in total blocks.
Selection Show SundayThe NCAA will announce the 2006 NCAA Tournament field in a televised selection show Sunday, Nov. 26. Details of time and channel have not yet been announced.
About MississippiOXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss (17-12, 8-10 SEC) fought hard and came up with the big play down the stretch as the Rebels defeated Auburn (13-16, 5-13 SEC) by a score of 3-2 (28-30, 30-22, 22-30, 30-23, 18-16) on Sunday. The eight SEC wins on the year is the most for Ole Miss since 1980, and the 17 wins overall is the most since Ole Miss posted 19 in the 1996 season. The Rebels used career nights from senior outside hitter Jaclyn Toohey and sophomore middle blocker Emily Jones to come up with the win. Toohey notched a career-high 28 kills while Jones posted a career-high 19 kills and hit .333 for the match to lead the Rebels offense. Kristen Carroll added 11 kills for Ole Miss.
Arkansas versus the Lady RebelsArkansas leads the all-time series record with the Lady Rebels 23-2 but Ole Miss has the advantage. They defeated Arkansas in Fayetteville in five games earlier this year.
The last time out FAYETTEVILLE – Freshman Destiny Clark and junior Ashley Miller both set school records but it wasn’t enough to lift the University of Arkansas volleyball team to a win over Mississippi. Arkansas (10-4, 3-3 SEC) dropped the five-game heart-breaker to Mississippi (10-5, 2-4 SEC) 28-30, 26-30, 30-27, 30-21, 15-17 despite the solid play from Clark and Miller. Clark, a Manhattan, Kan., native, collected a record 18 total blocks eclipsing the previous mark of 15 held by former Lady’Back Libby Windell. Miller erased her own digs record with 36 in the loss. Arkansas tied the record for team blocks with 24 but couldn’t over come a solid match from Mississippi. The Lady Rebel win was the first in 17 matches and only the second ever in the program’s history. Arkansas hit just .116 for the match but managed just .080, .075 and .043 in the first three frames. Senior Denitza Koleva lead Arkansas with 19 kills and 17 digs and senior Amy Allison added 11 kills and hit .321. The duo were the only Lady’Backs with double-digit kills. Sophomore Christina Lawrence also had a good match with a career-best 13 blocks and eight kills.
About Mississippi StateState enters the week with a 16-12 overall record and a 7-11 SEC mark in a much-improved season for the Bulldogs. MSU is on a two match skid dropping road matches at Auburn in five and at No. 7 Florida last weekend. Their SEC wins have come against Auburn, South Carolina (twice), Mississippi (twice), Alabama and Georgia this year. State is hitting .249 overall and. 216 in SEC matches lead bya .364 mark from Erin Seago. Seago has 147 kills and is averaging 1.52 kills per game. Orshi Kriegel is their go-to player leading the Bulldogs with 340 kills and a 3.54 kill per game average.
Arkansas verses the BulldogsArkansas is a perfect 26-0 all-time against Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are the only SEC team that has not defeated the Lady’Backs. Arkansas picked up a 3-0 win over the Bulldogs in Fayetteville earlier this year.
Last time out against the Bulldogs FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas got 13 kills each from Denitza Koleva and Jessica Dorrell in a three-game Southeastern Conference win over Mississippi State in Barnhill Arena. Arkansas improves to 10-3 overall and 3-2 in the SEC while State falls to 10-5, 1-4 in the SEC with the 30-19, 30-28, 30-19 win. Koleva finished with a double-double with 13 kills and 14 digs. Redshirt freshman Destiny Clark and sophomore Christina Lawrence had five blocks each with Lawrence hitting a match-best .429 with eight kills, two errors and 14 attempts.
The only senior classThis year’s senior class has a chance to do something no other senior class has. They could be the first to reach the NCAA Tournament each of their four years. The classes of 1998, 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2005 all went dancing three times during their careers and the classes of 1997, 2002 and 2003 all went twice. There were no seniors on the team in 1994 or 1995 and the class of 1996, lone senior Denise Baez, made three post-season appearances but two (1994 and 1995) were at the NIVC Invitational in Kansas City, Kansas. The class of 1999 would have also made four trips to the NCAA Tournament but those graduates did not compete at Arkansas four seasons. Senior Sandy Martin was a two-year transfer and senior Yarleen Santiago only played three seasons of collegiate volleyball.