Lady’Backs travel to Kansas this weekArkansas returns to the road this weekend traveling to the Kansas Invitational in Lawrence, Kan. The Lady’Backs face BYU and the host Jayhawks on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
About last weekendThe Lady Razorbacks continued to find ways to win, capturing the title at their home tournament, the Arkansas Invitational. The Lady’Backs defeated Sacramento State in four, a very scrappy Stephen F. Austin team in five and downed Southeast Missouri State in three in the final match.
The Best Start?Not quite. Arkansas is 6-0 to start 2006 and that is nearly the best start in the school history. The Lady’Backs began the 2002 season winning their first seven matches. Arkansas was 6-0 in 1996 and again 1999.
The all-tournament teamSenior Denitza Koleva and junior Jessica Dorrell made it two in a row as they were selected to the Arkansas Invitational all-tournament team. Senior Amy Allison earned her first all-tournament team selection of the year.
More about Koleva — Double UpArkansas senior Denitza Koleva recorded her sixth consecutive double-double of the season for kills and digs last weekend at the Arkansas Invitational. Koleva opened the year with back-to-back 14-kill matches and has posted a season-best 19 kills in a four-game win over Sacramento State. She recorded a career-best 20 digs in a five-game win over Stephen F. Austin and has hit .300 or better in four of the six matches. Here’s a quick look at her numbers:
|Stephen F. Austin||15||20|
More about KolevaKoleva posted a season-best 19 kills in the four-game win over Sacramento State on Thursday. She added a career-best 20 digs in the five-game win over Stephen F. Austin Friday. For the weekend, Koleva hit .276 with 50 kills, three aces, 44 digs and 10 total blocks for Arkansas.
More about DorrellJunior Jessica Dorrell also averaged a double-double for the weekend in kills and digs. She opened with 13 kills and 18 digs Thursday, followed by a career-best 18 kills and 15 digs Friday and finally 15 kills and 12 digs Saturday. Dorrell hit .220 for the weekend with 45 digs and six total blocks.
More about AllisonTo say senior Amy Allison is consistent is an understatement. Allison posted 11 kills in each of the three matches last weekend. She finished hitting .250 with 18 total blocks on the weekend.
Show Me The NumbersArkansas’ numbers have been good this year – better than their opponents in most cases. The Lady’Backs have recorded more kills in five of six matches. Only Oklahoma had more than Arkansas. The Lady’Backs have out-hit opponents in every match and out-dug opponents in four of six matches. The Lady’Backs have out-blocked opponents in all six matches this year.
Speaking Of The BlockArkansas has out-blocked its opponents in all six matches this year. The Lady’Backs have posted double-digit blocks in four of six matches with a season-best 15.0 in the opener against Idaho.
Dig ThisArkansas had 101 digs in a five-game win over Stephen F. Austin at the Arkansas Invitational. It was the fifth-time in a five-game match and the ninth time in school history Arkansas has broken the century mark for digs in a match.
About BYUBYU reached the NCAA Tournament first round last year finished with a 25-4 record under first-year head coach Jason Watson. Watson returned 6 starters and has the Cougars out to a 6-0 start that includes an impressive four-game win over fourth-ranked Stanford last weekend. The Cougars are hitting .323 as a team with seven players above the .300 mark. Erica Lott is the team’s leader averaging 4.79 kills per game and hitting .367. The Cougars are also blocking well with a 3.53 bpg average.
Arkansas versus the CougarsArkansas leads the all-time series 2-0 against BYU. The Lady’Backs won the most recent meeting 3-2 on Sept. 5, 2003.
About KansasKansas enters the weekend with a 6-1 record with their lone loss coming at the hands of one of Arkansas’ biggest rivals – Alabama. The Tide downed KU in three, 30-21, 30-20, 30-18 in Tuscaloosa. KU is hitting .273 as a team and averaging 15.50 digs per game and 1.88 blocks per game. Jana Corica is the team’s leader with 88 kills and a 3.67 kill-per-game average.
Arkansas versus the JayhawksArkansas and Kansas are tied in the all-time series records at 1-1. Arkansas lost the most recent meeting in four at Kansas in 2004.
Setter SwitchArkansas added volleyball in 1994 and ran a 6-2 offense behind the setting and blocking skills of freshman Tina Rico. Rico ran the 6-2 for four seasons followed by setter Ning Zhao who also ran the 6-2.Since Zhao Arkansas has set by committee running a 5-1 offense with two setters in the match. It appears to be more of the same in 2006 with sophomore Caira Daugherty and freshman Lindsay Scanlan sharing the duties in the Alumni match. Will the duo share setting duties all season? Stay tuned.
Ace, Ace, BabyArkansas’ serving is much stronger in 2006. The Lady’Backs have recorded 34 service aces already this year including 11 aces in the opener against Idaho. Even when the Lady’Backs don’t get an ace serve, the tough serve is taking opponents out of their offense. Sophomore setter Caira Daugherty leads the team with 13 service aces this year.
Point me in the right directionArkansas has scored more points than its opponent this year. The Lady’Backs have outscored opponents 661-569 including a 180-130 margin in game one. Arkansas has been outscored by its opponents 173-166 in game two, and outscored opponents 167-147 in game three, 117-97 in the fourth game and 31-22 in game five. Senior Denitza Koleva leads Arkansas in points per game with a 4.48 average. Junior Jessica Dorrell is second at 4.21 ppg.
Interesting NumbersArkansas needed 58 kills and 130 attempts to win in four games against Idaho. The Lady’Backs only had one more kill, 59, in the five-game win over Oklahoma and actually had more kills, 60, in a three-game win over North Carolina.
2005 versus 2006How do Arkansas’ numbers this year compare to last year’s at the same time? Let’s take a look.
Give the ball to DennySenior Denitza Koleva is a hitting machine and has recorded five of the top 10 individual hitting percentages of 2006. In addition she holds five of the top 10 kill totals and holds the top spot in both categories this year. Koleva hit .444 (16-4-27) against Southeast Missouri State and tallied 19 kills against Sacramento State this year.
Or JessieIf it’s not Denitza Koleva then it’s probably Jessica Dorrell. Dorrell holds three of the top 10 spots for individual hitting percentage this year and four of the top 10 for kills. Her bests are a .367 (13-2-30) hitting percentage against North Carolina and 18 kills versus Stephen F. Austin this year. In addition, the duo hold all five of the top spots for points in match this year. Koleva is first with 22.5 points against Sacramento State followed by Dorrell with 19.5 points against Stephen F. Austin.
The same can be said for MillerAshley Miller dominates the teams digging numbers holding three of the top five marks this year. Miller’s best in 2006 was a 25-dig performance against North Carolina. Who are the other two players in the top five? Koleva (20) and Dorrell (18) of course.
Your money’s worthArkansas has played two five-game matches this year, first at Oklahoma then against Stephen F. Austin in Fayetteville. Interestingly enough, some of Arkansas’ season-high team numbers have not come from those matches. In fact, Arkansas’ team-best for hitting was a .323 performance against Idaho. In addition, Arkansas’ season-best for kills was 71 in a four-game win over Sacramento State. Arkansas got a season-best 64 assists against Sac State and a season-high 11 service aces against Idaho. Arkansas also posted a season-best 15.0 blocks against Idaho.
Double-digit kill matchesArkansas has played three matches with three players in double-digit kills and three matches with four players with 10 or more kills. Denitza Koleva and Jessica Dorrell have tallied double-digits in all six matches this year. Senior Kele Brewer has had four double-digit performances while senior Amy Allison has posted four as well. Sophomore Christina Lawrence has had one double-digit performance.
New-look SEC scheduleThe Southeastern Conference schedule changed this year and teams will play a double-round robin. Each SEC team plays a home-and-home with the other 10 conference schools, so Arkansas travels to each of the other 10 schools this year and all travel to Fayetteville. The change brings the number of conference matches to 20, up from 16 last year.
Another tough schedule awaits Arkansas faces nine NCAA Tournament teams this year. The schedule is highlighted by Tennessee who reached the semifinals before being eliminated by eventual national champion Washington. Florida advanced to the elite eight and the perennial powerhouse Gators are loaded for the 2005 season. North Carolina, Sacramento State, Kansas, BYU, Kentucky, LSU and Alabama all reached the NCAA Tournament but fell in the first round.
Another note about the scheduleTelevision and a special promotion changed the start time of a pair of Southeastern Conference road volleyball matches.The Lady Razorbacks travel to SEC Western Division rival Alabama on Oct. 6 in a match that was slated for a 7:00 p.m., start. That start time moved to 6:00 p.m. to accommodate the FSN (FOX Sports Net) broadcast of the match.In addition, Arkansas’ match at Florida on Oct. 13 has been moved from a 6:00 p.m., start to 7:30 p.m., as the Gators combine the match with the first basketball practice of the season.
You againArkansas did something at the Arkansas Invitational it had not done the previous week – started the same players two matches in a row. In fact, Arkansas started the same lineup all weekend. That lineup was Denitza Koleva, Jessica Dorrell, Christina Lawrence, Amy Allsion, Kele Brewer, Caira Daugherty and Ashley Miller at libero.
Injury bug bites earlyArkansas is suffering a bit from the injury bug as the preseason practices begin. Sophomore Christina Lawrence had surgery on the second day of practice after tearing her meniscus. She is expected to be sidelined three weeks and the team is looking forward to a possible return the second week of the season.Sophomore Kristin Seaton was lost for the season after an ATV accident this summer. She will redshirt this year but return to campus to attend classes.Senior Denitza Koleva has been slowed with a toe injury that continues to improve each day and senior Amy Allison has been sidelined with back spasms. She is day-to-day.