About ArkansasThe Lady Razorbacks rallied from a 2-0 start to defeat Mississippi State Sunday winning a share of their 10th Southeastern Conference Western Division crown. The Lady’Backs finished the SEC regular season with a 10-6 record tying Alabama for the title. In a strange twist, Tennessee defeated Florida on Friday and their is also a tie for the Eastern Division title between those two times. The Gator loss is the first since 1994 during the SEC regular season. Arkansas opens SEC Tournament play as the No. 3 seed facing No. 6 LSU in the first round at 1:00 p.m. Central in Gainesville, Fla. An Arkansas win will send the Lady’Backs into the second round where they would face the winner of No. 2 Tennessee/No. 7 Auburn at 1:00 p.m. Saturday.
|#2 Tennessee vs. #7 Auburn||11:00 AM (Central)|
|#3 Arkansas vs. #6 LSU||1:00 PM|
|#4 Alabama vs. #5 Georgia||4:00 PM|
|#1 Florida vs. #8 South Carolina||6:00 PM|
About LSUThe LSU volleyball team closed out the Southeastern Conference regular season schedule with a sweep of Ole Miss, 30-21, 30-17, 30-26, on Sunday afternoon at the Gillom Sports Complex. With the win the Tigers avenged a loss to the Lady Rebels earlier in the season and improved to 16-10 on the year and 8-8 in league play, having won five of their last six matches, including two straight. Ole Miss fell to 10-16 overall and 2-14 in league play, after losing its last eight. After completing the season in third place in the SEC Western Division, the Tigers will now travel to the SEC Tournament as the sixth seed. LSU will take on third-seeded Arkansas in its first match on Friday.
Arkansas versus the TigersThe Lady Razorbacks are 20-3 lifetime against the Tigers. Arkansas had won seven in a row against LSU but the Tigers handed Arkansas a surprise loss last Friday in Fayetteville. The Lady’Backs are 1-0 against LSU on a neutral court (last year in Columbia) and are 1-0 against LSU in the SEC Tournament (2003).
Numbers paint the pictureArkansas’ statistical numbers are down this year. The most notable is the team’s hitting percentage which stands at .186 heading into the tournament. That mark, along with the overall number of kills (1577), total attempts (4291), kills per game (14.2) and assists (1422) are all the lowest they have ever been in the program’s history. Arkansas can still improve on its numbers with at least three (two regular season and at least one match in the SEC Tournament) matches remaining.
Arkansas by gamesThe Lady Razorbacks are 5-4 in three games, 4-7 in four games and 6-2 in five games this year. Arkansas is 13-15 in game one, 14-14 in game two, 12-16 in game three, 11-8 in game four and 6-2 in game five this year.
Can you dig it? Freshman libero Ashley Miller should find her name in the Arkansas record books after her first season of collegiate play. Miller leads the team in digs with 446 heading into the SEC Tournament. The freshman record was 430 set by Krystal Osborne in Arkansas’ inaugural season in 1994 and Miller broke that mark in a 29-dig performance against SMS in Arkansas’ final match before the tournament. She is averaging 4.02 dpg and if Arkansas plays just three games in its remaining three matches (two regular season and at least one match in the SEC Tournament) she would tally 494.24 digs. That would make her third all-time. The single-season record is 503 set by Krystal Osborne in 147 games during the 1995 season.
Dig-DugIn addition to Miller’s single-season success the freshman has had 22 matches with double-digit dig totals. She has 12 consecutive matches with 10 or more digs and eight matches this year with 20 or more digs. Miller has collected 29 digs twice this year just shy of the 31 by an individual record held by Amanda Sweatt during the 1994 season.
The Great Wall of ArkansasThe Lady Razorbacks are known for blocking and have consistently ranked among the SEC and NCAA leaders for blocks throughout the program’s history. This year Arkansas has had 19 of its 28 matches in which the team has recorded double-digit block totals. The Lady’Backs have had streaks of six then seven consecutive double-digit block matches with the most recent streak broken in Columbia when Arkansas recorded just nine blocks at South Carolina. Arkansas has posted 12 double-digit block matches in 16 SEC matches this year.
More about the Block Arkansas ranks 14th this week in the NCAA blocking statistics entering the week averaging 3.12 bpg. The Lady’Backs hosted SMS who was second with a 3.51 bpg average. Arkansas bettered SMS this week recording 18 blocks to the Bears 11 in the come-from-behind win. In addition Arkansas held SMS’ Sabrina Apker who ranks second in the country to just three blocks assists.
Good defenseDespite Arkansas’ lower-than-usual hitting percentage this year the Lady’Backs have done a good job defensively keeping opponent’s hitting percentages low as well. Arkansas’ opponents are hitting just .187 against the Lady’Backs and Arkansas has held opponents below the .200 mark in 15 matches. Recently Arkansas had an eight-match streak in which they have contained opponents to a less-than-.200 mark (prior to LSU’s .215 mark Nov. 12). Arkansas was 6-2 in those eight matches.
Hard to come byArkansas has only recorded more kills than its opponent 10 times this year. Arkansas is 9-1 when they have more kills with the lone loss coming at No. 15 Tennessee Nov. 5, in Knoxville. Arkansas has out-hit its opponent 14 times this year and had a streak of seven matches snapped at South Carolina. The Lady’Backs are 13-1 when out-hitting its opponent with the lone loss coming at No. 15 Tennessee.
To error is humanAn Arkansas has had its fare share of unforced mistakes this year. The Lady’Backs have committed 1391 errors (hitting, service, reception, blocking and ball handling) this year. On the bright side – Arkansas’ opponents have committed just as many 1391- this year. The negatives for the Lady’Backs include reception errors (when the other team gets an ace serve). Arkansas has posted 184 reception errors to its opponent’s 157. Arkansas has also committed more blocking errors (in the net) 88 to 84 and more ball handling errors (lifts) 94 to 51 this year.
On a high noteThe Lady’Backs have had several great performances from many different athletes. Here’s a quick look at some of the season highs: Jessica Dorrell had the highest hitting percentage of the year with a .667 (13-1-18) mark at Alabama. Denitza Koleva recorded a season-best 23 kills against Pacific and had 51 total attempts against Houston this year. Jennifer Haaser scored 29 points at Santa Clara and Iva Docekalova recorded 68 assists against Pacific early in the season. Ashley Miller tallied 29 digs against Kentucky and Haaser and Karla Crose have each recorded 12 blocks in a match this year.
About Chris Poole The Lady Razorbacks have known only one coach in the program’s history – Chris Poole. Since accepting the head coaching job at Arkansas Poole and the Lady’Backs have won nine of the first 10 SEC Western Division titles and reached the SEC Tournament finals eight times winning in 1997. Poole and the Lady’Backs have amassed a 265-114 all-time record and a 133-35 SEC record. Poole’s career record has grown to 499-183 in 18 seasons with a 198-39 all-time record in conference play.
Jennifer Haasers Career Records WatchLone senior Jennifer Haaser continues to climb in the career records lists. She currently ranks eighth for kills with 1,245. Here’s a quick look at some of her other numbers heading into the SEC Tournament: 12th in kills per game (2.65), fifth in attack attempts (3035); 16th in hitting percentage (.238); eighth in service aces (103); second in service attempts (1513); ninth in digs (740); secord in block solos (98); third in block assists (528), third in total blocks (626); fourth in blocks per game (1.33) and fifth in points (1710.0).
The Rest of the TeamSome of Haaser’s teammates are also climbing the career charts. Here’s a few notables: Dentiza Koleva is 14th in kills (667), 12th in kpg (2.84), 13th in total attempts (1942); Kele Brewer is 15th in kills (611), 10th in kpg (2.94), 17th in total attempts (1779) ; Karla Crose is 19th in kills (370); Iva Docekalova is fifth in assists (969); Amanda Eskridge is seventh in assists (498); Docekalova is fourth in aces (110), fourth in sapg (0.31), first in service attempts (1728), 12th in digs (658); Crose is 18th in block solos (13), 13th in block assists (224), and 14th in total blocks (237).
About the SEC TournamentThe University of Florida hosts the 2004 Southeastern Conference Tournament at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla., Nov. 19-21. The single-elimination tournament will feature the top eight teams in the conference as they vie for the SEC crown. Seeding for the tournament will be as follows: The tournament will be seeded 1-8 regardless of division, based on conference winning percentage.