ARKANSAS TRAVELS TO ATLANTAThe University of Arkansas returns to the court this weekend for the Regency Suites/Georgia Tech Invitational in Atlanta, Ga. Arkansas faces host Georgia Tech and Michigan at the Yellowjackets’ gym and takes on Georgia State in the Panthers home facility.
ARKANSAS ADJUSTS SCHEDULEArkansas was scheduled to play Xavier as part of the Georgia Tech/Regency Suites Invitational this weekend but the match has been cancelled. Xavier will likely be on Arkansas’ schedule in the coming years.
ARKANSAS STRUGGLED IN OPENERThe Razorbacks went 0-3 in the opening weekend of play. Arkansas fell to No. 17 Colorado State on the Rams’ home floor and dropped matches to Denver and Eastern Washington.
TANG SHOWS PROMISEAlthough Arkansas lost the matches, there were several bright spots including the play of senior Yun Tang. Tang finished the weekend with nine kills and 17 total blocks playing in all nine sets for the Razorbacks. Tang’s nine kills is nearly half of her season-best 22 kills last year. In addition, 17 blocks puts Tang well on her way to a career best as she posted 44 in all of last year.
BAUTISTA SOLIDIFIES LIBERO ROLEFreshman Pheobe Bautista stepped up into the starting libero role in the first match of the season. Bautista, who redshirted last year, has big shoes to fill after the graduation of Arkansas and SEC record-holder Ashley Miller last year. But Bautista held her own finishing the weekend with a team-leading 23 digs in three matches.
LAWRENCE LIMITEDSenior Christina Lawrence suffered a strained abdomen last week. She played in the first match of the year against No. 17 Colorado State but was held out of the next two. She is listed as day-to-day.
ARKANSAS IN THE OPENERSThe Razorbacks are good in their season openers. Arkansas is 10-5 all-time in the first match of the year. The Razorbacks are 9-6 in road openers with four of the five losses coming at the hands of nationally-ranked opponents (No. 5 Nebraska, 1996; No. 2 Penn State, 2000; No. 14 Colorado State, 2001; No. 17 Colorado State, 2008).
WHAT ABOUT BURGE?Freshman Brooke Burge should have been among the liberos listed above but a preseason (pre-practice) knee injury has Burge sidelined.
STIPANOVICH MAKES DEBUTFreshman Kelli Stipanovich made her collegiate debut this weekend. Stipanovich played in all three matches tallying 19 kills, three service aces, 13 digs and two total blocks. Stipanovich leads the team in hitting percentage, kills-per-game, service aces-per-game and points-per-game.
BAEZ RETURNSThe Razorback volleyball team welcomes back a familiar face in Denise Baez. Baez was the first recruit signed by the Razorback volleyball program in 1994. She returns in 2008 as the Director of Volleyball Operations.
A CHANGE IN THE POLLWhat a difference a weekend makes. Michigan jumped into the top 25 this week after going 3-0 on the weekend to open the season. Georgia Tech also played well and is receiving votes in this week’s poll. See the complete poll on the next page.
ABOUT THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTSGEORGIA STATEBrittany Roderick pounded out 15 kills and Asia Stawicka notched nine block assists to lift Georgia Tech to a 3-1 (23-25, 25-17-25-17, 25-17) victory over Furman, helping the Yellow Jackets win the title of the 2008 Georgia Bulldog Invitational with a 3-0 record on opening weekend. Georgia State returns five starters from last years 22-10 team that finished third in the conference. Arkansas is 0-2 lifetime against the Yellow Jacks. The most recent meeting was a 1-3 loss Oct. 14, 2001.
MICHIGANLed by a career-best 14 kills from junior Megan Bower and 34 assists from sophomore Lexi Zimmerman, the University of Michigan volleyball team won the Rice University Mizuno Invitational with a 3-0 win over the host Owls (25-16, 26-24, 25-15) Saturday night (Aug. 30) in Fox Gymnasium. Michigan returns four starters and eight letterwinners from a team that advanced to the NCAA Regional Championship and finished 19th in the country last year, Arkansas trails 0-3 in the Michigan series. The most recent meeting was an 0-3 loss Sept. 16, 2000.
GEORGIA STATEThe Georgia State volleyball team fell to 0-3 on the season after a 3-0 loss to Georgia (2-1) in the final match of the Georgia Bulldog Invitational on Sunday night. The Panthers were led by senior Michelle Trimble and freshman Torrie Brown who each collected nine kills, while senior Liz Schaab added eight. Georgia State enters the 2008 season looking to continue to improve after last year compiling a winning record for the first time under fifth year Head Coach Mike Webster. This is the first meeting between Arkansas and Georgia State.
NEXT WEEK’S SCHEDULEArkansas continues to practice throughout the week before departing Thursday for Atlanta, Ga., and the second of three pre-SEC tournaments. The Razorbacks are scheduled to face Georgia Tech, Georgia State and Michigan.
FLORIDA PICKED TO WIN SEC TITLE BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The eighth-ranked Florida Gators were selected to win the 2008 Southeastern Conference volleyball title in a preseason vote by the league’s 11 coaches. The Gators have claimed 17 consecutive SEC titles, which ties the NCAA record for consecutive conference title wins. Coming off a 29-3 season and their 16th NCAA regional semifinal appearance in 17 years, the Gators also hold the nation’s longest stretch of 25-win seasons with 17 straight. Florida, who also has the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class this season, according to PrepVolleyball.com, received seven votes, while the LSU Tigers earned three, and the Kentucky Wildcats snagged one. The Gators were voted to win the Eastern Division with 11 total points, followed by Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. Florida finishedwith a conference record of 19-1 and has never lost more than one league match during head coach Mary Wise’s 17-year tenure. After recording their first 20-win season since 1993, the Wildcats also received a first-place vote for the division title and is picked to finish second with 18 points, and the Lady Vols are picked third with 33 points. The Georgia Bulldogs and the South Carolina Gamecocks round out the East. LSU was unanimously predicted to win the West by receiving all 10 first place votes. The Tigers, led by head coach Fran Flory, also received three first placevotes for the league title. The Ole Miss Rebels were selected to finish second with 21 points, and the Alabama Crimson Tide is predicted to place third with 27 points. Arkansas and Auburn are picked to finish fourth and fifth, respectively, while the Mississippi State Bulldogs round out the poll in sixth place. Points were compiled on a 1-2-3-4-5-6 basis for the Western Division and 1-2-3-4-5 for the Eastern Division. Each coach was not allowed to vote for his or her own team and each coach also voted for one team as an overall conference champion.
Download: 08vbrelease3-Regency Suites.pdf