About ArkansasThe University of Arkansas is coming off a weekend split at the C&C Services Invitational. Arkansas fell in five to Kansas State, who is receiving votes in the AVCA top 25 poll, and rallied to defeat Utah State in five. Oddly enough, Kansas State defeated Utah State in the other tournament match, also in five games.Koleva honored againArkansas junior Denitza Koleva was one of two Lady Razorbacks selected to the C&C Services all-tournament team. Koleva posted a career-best 27 kills against Kansas State hitting .442 for Arkansas. She added 17 kills, eight digs and four blocks against Utah State.Dorrell also honoredSophomore Jessica Dorrell also earned selection to the C&C Services all-tournament team. Dorrell has put together solid back-to-back tournaments and is hitting a team-leading .404 through the first five matches of the year.Arkansas out-does opponentsArkansas has been solid in nearly every statistical category this year. The Lady’Backs have outhit opponents .319-.175, with more kills; 310-254. the Lady’Backs have more assists (276-233), more digs (281-262) and more blocks (63.0-22.0) this year. Arkansas is also close in service aces with 24 to their opponent’s 29 this year.
Good in game oneArkansas has played very well out of the gates winning all five of their first games in matches. Arkansas is 3-2 in game two, 5-0 in game three, 0-2 in the fourth frame and 1-1 in the fifth stanza.Point me in the right directionWith perfect 4-0 records in games one and three, it would follow that Arkansas has outscored opponents in those stanzas. The Lady’Backs’ point total in game one is 150 to their opponent’s 108, and Arkansas leads 150-177 in game three. Interesting enough, Arkansas has also outscored opponents in game two 144-131.The Western Wall of ArkansasAlways a strong blocking team, the Lady’Backs have worked hard in the first five matches to maintain that reputation. The Lady’Backs have out-blocked opponents 63.0 to 22.0 with 114 block assists and six solos to their opponents 32 and six respectively.More on the blockJunior Amy Allison leads Arkansas in blocking with 32 total blocks and a 1.88 block per game average. Senior Karla Crose is second with 25 blocks (1.32 bpg) followed by sophomore Jessica Dorrell with 24 (1.26 bpg). Junior Denitza Koleva and redshirt freshman Christina Lawrence also have double-digit block numbers with 15 each this year.Sharing the settingArkansas has been running a 6-2 offense rotating setters this year. Senior Iva Docekalova and sophomore transfer Nicole Martin have split time as the team’s setter and both have played very well. Docekalova has a slight statistical edge with 132 assists and a 6.95 assist-per-game average while Martin checks in with 117 assists and 6.16 apg. Martin has gotten all five starts the duo have been on the court about the same amount of time.Her time will comeJunior Kele Brewer has gone under the radar screen this year in what has been a very balanced start to the season. She has significantly elevated her hitting percentage to a .285 mark from .214 last year. Brewer’s early season numbers have been good enough to earn selection to most all-tournament teams but her teammates have also improved their numbers keeping Brewer off the map – so far. Brewer is third on the team with 46 kills and a 2.42 kill-per-game average through the first five matches.Lady’Backs let the SEC WestThe University of Arkansas was voted to tie LSU for the 2005 Southeastern Conference Western Division title in a poll from the league’s coaches. Arkansas received five first-place votes while LSU garnered six. Florida was again selected to win the SEC Eastern Division title and the overall title despite dropping two matches to upstart Tennessee last year and surrendering the titles. (see the poll on page 3).Pack your bagsArkansas packs its bags for the first road trip and the first of two in a row on the road in 2005. The Lady’Backs travel to the Results Advertising Invitational where they face host Missouri State, Utah and Iowa State in the round robin event.On the roadArkansas is 91-55 all-time in road matches and 42-32 in neutral site matches. The Lady’Backs are 8-3 all-time in the first contest away from Barnhill (either away or neutral site). Arkansas is 5-3 in neutral openers and 6-5 in road match openers.About Iowa StateIowa State enters the week with a 5-1 mark, falling to Stephen F. Austin in three in their most recent match. Katie Jessen leads the Cyclones with 4.79 kills per game.Arkansas versus Iowa StateIowa State holds a 0-1 series advantage over Arkansas with the teams’ only meeting coming in 1994. The two faced each other in Kansas City at the now-extinct NIVC Invitational with ISU sneaking out a five-game win, 15-12 in the last frame.About Missouri StateArkansas opens the tournament with the team formerly known as Southwest Missouri State. The Bears come into the weekend with a 2-4 overall record with wins over UALR (3-0) and Southeast Missouri State (3-0). The Bears have losses to Kansas State (0-3), No. 15 UC-Santa Barbara (2-3), No. 8 Florida (0-3) and Dayton (0-3). Arkansas also has a five-game loss to Kansas State and will face Florida at least once this year. Missouri State is hitting .206 paced by a .310 mark from Sarah Lansing who has 41 kills this year. Katie Werges is their go-to player with 87 kills and 4.25 kills per game while Sabrina Apker leads the defense with 1.50 blocks per game and 30 total blocks.Arkansas versus Missouri StateArkansas leads the all-time series race against the Bears, 9-1, with Missouri State’s only win coming in 2003 in Springfield. Arkansas avenged that loss later that year eliminating the Bears from the NCAA Tournament in Manhattan, Kansas.About UtahUtah begins the week with a 2-2 record (they play at Utah State Tuesday) with wins over Idaho State and Weber State. The Utes fell to No. 21 Missouri and No. 9 Tennessee both in three games. The Utes are hitting .183 as a team paced by Airial Salvo with 43 kills, 3.58 kills per game and a .219 hitting percentage.Arkansas versus UtahArkansas has faced the Utes just once before on their home court in 2002. The Lady’Backs had the 10th-ranked team on the ropes winning the first two games but Utah rallied winning the next three and the match.Season-best numbersThe season is just five matches old but Arkansas has posted some impressive numbers early. The Lady’Backs have a season-best 86 kills against Kansas State. That is one shy of last year’s single match best of 87 that came in a five-game with against Missouri State. Arkansas has hit better than .300 in four of its five matches with a team-high .368 in a five-game loss to Kansas State. Here’s the season numbers so far:
KPG: 16.32 — APG: 14.53 — SAPG: 1.26 — DPG: 14.79 — BPG: 3.32 — PPG: 20.89
Up NextArkansas travels to the San Diego Tournament Sept. 15-17, facing UNLV, San Diego and Long Beach State. The Lady Razorbacks return to Fayetteville hosting No. 11 Tennessee and South Carolina Sept. 23 and 25, respectively, as Southeastern Conference action begins.