Arkansas goes DancingThe University of Arkansas was one of six Southeastern Conference teams selected to the 2005 NCAA Volleyball Tournament last Sunday. The Lady Razorbacks (20-11) travel to Missouri facing Saint Mary’s (California) (19-9) in the first round, Friday, Dec. 2, at 5:30 p.m.
The Lady’Backs face Saint Mary’sArkansas faces Saint Mary’s in the first round at 5:30 p.m. This is the first meeting for Arkansas and the Gaels in the NCAA Tournament. The Lady’Backs have faced the Gaels once before in the first year of volleyball at Arkansas. The Lady’Backs suffered an 11-15, 15-8, 7-15, 15-8, 13-15 loss to the Gaels as part of the San Francisco Tournament.
Support staff onlyArkansas head coach Chris Poole and volunteer assistant coach Denise Baez are the only two Lady’Back coaches who were hear during the first meeting with Saint Mary’s. Baez was a sophomore middle for Arkansas in the match.
Others in the bracketArkansas finds itself in the State College Regional with the first and second rounds taking place in Columbia, Mo. Also at Columbia is No. 10 Missouri and Missouri State.
Deja VuArkansas was also sent to Missouri for first round NCAA Tournament action last year. The Lady’Backs faced Missouri suffering a four-game loss in the opening match.
Arkansas against the bracketThe Lady’Backs have not faced Saint Mary’s or Missouri this year but did play Missouri State earlier this season. The Lady’Backs dropped the match in four games in Springfield, Mo., as part of the Results Advertising Classic.
About the SECINDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee announced today the 64-team field for the 2005 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship. Thirty-one conferences were awarded automatic qualification, and the remaining 33 slots were filled with at-large selections to complete the bracket. The top 16 teams were seeded nationally and placed within four regions. The SEC had two teams seeded nationally, with Florida ranked #8 and Tennessee ranked #15 by the committee. These two schools will host first and second round action in Gainesville and Knoxville, respectively when play begins on Thursday. The Big 12 Conference led all conferences with seven teams selected. Three conferences landed six teams including the Big Ten Conference, Pacific-10 Conference and Southeastern Conference. The six teams selected in the SEC are a record for the conference, shattering the previous high of four teams. This will also mark the first time in SEC history that four or more teams were selected to the NCAA Tournament field in consecutive years. Along with SEC Regular Season Champion Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky,. LSU and Tennessee were chosen to participate in the postseason tournament. The University of Alabama is one of four teams making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in school history.
Some of Arkansas’ numbersThe Lady Razorbacks finished the regular season with 1800 kills, an impressive number. Despite that good number, it ranks 11th all time. The record is 2170 kills in a season set in 1996. Despite the seemingly low number of kills, Arkansas has had a lot of chances — 4652 in fact. That number ranks eighth all time. The Lady’Backs’ team hitting percentage of .228 ranks tied for seventh. Arkansas’ dig numbers are also good with 1799 this year ranking eighth while the blocking stands out. Arkansas has recorded 696 block assists, third all-time, and has 401.0 total blocks ranking sixth, just a block-and-a-half behind the number five spot.
I’m a gamerArkansas is 9-4 in three-game matches, 4-4 in four game matches and 7-3 in five-game matches this year.
Arkansas in the middleThe Lady’Backs have won 21 game twos and 20 game threes this year. Here’s Arkansas’ games won breakdown:
Allison on offense and defenseJunior Amy Allison leads the team offensively and defensively this year. The Jenks, Okla., native is hitting a team-best .291 this year and is averaging 1.89 blocks per game with 219 total blocks.
Leader of the offenseAlthough Amy Allison has the highest attack percentage this year at .291, its junior Denizta Koleva who is considered the offensive leader. Koleva leads the team with 407 kills and a 3.51 kill per game average.
They call me the streakArkansas’ longest winning streak this season was six matches between a win at Georgia Oct. 23 through a victory at Ole Miss Nov. 6. The team’s longest losing streak was three matches to No. 18 San Diego, No. 25 Long Beach State and Tennessee in September.
Arkansas against the NCAA fieldThe Lady Razorbacks faced 11 NCAA Tournament participants this year coming away with a 7-9 overall mark. Arkansas was 6-5 against SEC teams who got into the tournament. Here’s a closer look:Kansas State (L), No. 18 San Diego (L), No. 25 Long Beach State (L), Tennessee (L), Kentucky (1-2), Florida (0-2), Alabama (2-0), Utah (W), Utah State (W), LSU (2-0), Missouri State (L).
Arkansas season bestsThe Lady Razorbacks recorded a season-best 86 kills in a five-game near miss to Kansas State Sept. 2. Arkansas had a season-best 211 attempts against South Carolina and a season-best hitting percentage of .402 at Ole Miss.
What goes up….We’ve talked about the season highs but what about the season lows? Arkansas hit a season-worst .076 at fourth-ranked Florida also recording a season-low 37 kills in the loss. The Lady’Backs needed just 92 attempts to defeat Mississippi in three in Oxford and also recorded a season-low 34 digs in the win. Arkansas has had four matches with just one service ace, most recently against Oral Roberts and the Lady’Backs managed just four team blocks in a three-game loss at LSU in early November.
Opponent highs and lowsTennessee hit a season-best .348 against Arkansas in the first SEC match of the season. Here’s a look at some of the other opponent numbers:
Big block of the Lady’BacksArkansas has lived and died with the block this year. For the most part, the block has been solid, in fact ranking 12th in the nation this year (as of Nov. 20). Arkansas’ Amy Allison has been ranked as high as second in the country and was third in the nation last week (Nov. 20) in blocking. Here’s a look at the top five individuals in the country in blocking.
More about the blockAmy Allison ranks third in the nation in blocking but if you look at the top five, three of the five are in Arkansas’ bracket this weekend. Saint Marys’ Christina Kirk ranks second just ahead of Allison while Missouri State’s Sabrina Apker is tied for fifth. See the above box for the complete top five as of Nov. 20.
Arkansas in the NCAA TournamentArkansas has made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament eight years (including 2005) and has had nine postseason appearances in 12 seasons. The Lady’Backs earned back-to-back trips to the NIVC Tournament in 1994 and 1995, the first two seasons of the program at Arkansas. The NCAA Tournament field was just 48 teams those seasons.The Lady’Backs earned their first NCAA Tournament selection in 1996 selected to the field of 48 and has been in and out of the Dance since then.
Arkansas’ all-time recordThe Lady’Backs are 6-7 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Arkansas won its first round matches in 1996 (Rhode Island), 1997 (UALR), 1998 (New Hampshire), 1999 (Georgetown) and 2003 (No. 23 Missouri State). The Lady’Backs also won their second round match in 1998 (Indiana) reaching the Regionals for the first (and only) time in school history.
Location, Location, LocationArkansas is 4-1 in postseason matches played in Barnhill Arena. Arkansas is 2-1 on neutral courts and a disappointing 0-5 in NCAA Tournament matches played on their opponents’ home courts. Those five road match losses came at No. 4 Nebraska (1996), at No. 6 Long Beach State (1999), at No. 18 Kansas State (2001) and 2003) and at No. 16 Missouri (2004).
Arkansas’ numbers in the NCAA TournamentA pair of seniors, Karla Crose and Iva Docekalova, have gone to the postseason two of the previous three seasons (2003 and 2004). Arkansas is 1-2 during that time. Here’s a look at the Lady’Backs’ team stats in those three matches.
Individuals in the postseasonKarla Crose and Iva Docekalova have made a pair of postseason appearances. So too, have juniors Denitza Koleva and Kele Brewer. Here’s a look at all of the current Lady’Backs postseason numbers.
SEC season a good oneThe Lady’Backs finished tied for the SEC Western Division title winning a share of the crown for the 11th time in 12 seasons. Arkansas head coach Chris Poole noted all season that the SEC was as good as it has ever been and that statement proved true when six league teams were selected to the NCAA Tournament.
The SEC much betterAs the league has improved, the Lady Razorbacks fought to remain in the upper half of the standings in several statistical categories this year. Arkansas finished the regular season sixth in hitting percentage (.230), seventh in assists (13.26), first in blocking (3.31), fourth in winning percentage (.645), sixth in opponent hitting percentage (.193), sixth in kills (14.88), 11th in service aces (0.99) and seventh in digs (14.87) in all matches. Junior Amy Allison was first in the league in blocks (1.89), while senior Karla Crose was sixth (1.26). Sophomore Ashley Miller was fifth in digs (4.44).
The same only differentHere’s a look at Arkansas’ rank in the league in SEC-only matches. The Lady’Backs finished seventh in hitting percentage (.204), seventh in assists (12.97), first in blocking (3.26), tied for third in winning percentage (.688), fifth in opponent hitting percentage (.195), sixth in kills (14.56), 11th in service aces (1.00) and seventh in digs (15.11). Amy Allison again paced Arkansas and the conference in blocks (1.88) while Karla Crose ranked seventh (1.22). Denitza Koleva finished the year ranked eighth in service aces (0.33) and Ashley Miller was sixth in digs (4.29)