Arkansas begins five match home standThe University of Arkansas returns home this week beginning a five-match home stand. Arkansas hosts Georgia Friday and South Carolina Sunday followed by Mississippi State Friday, Sept. 29, Mississippi Oct. 1 and No. 18 LSU Wednesday, Oct. 4.
About last weekArkansas dropped both of their SEC matches on the road last week. The Lady’Backs didn’t play well in a 3-0 loss at Kentucky and reversed that, playing one of their best statistical matches of the season in four-game loss at No. 13 Tennessee.Sophomore Christina Lawrence played well in both matches last week. Lawrence hit .318 with 19 kills and a 2.71 kill-per-game average. She added one dig and five blocks for the weekend.
Jeckal and Hyde weekendArkansas hit a season-low .044 at Kentucky with a season worst 28 kills, 25 assists and 14 digs. The Lady’Backs followed up with a near season-best .307 performance at No. 13 Tennessee with 67 kills, 62 assists and 16 digs.
The wild, wild SECThe Southeastern Conference is in for a wild ride in 2006. As teams play the home-and-away series for the first time, there have been some upsets early in the year. No. 18 LSU downed No. 13 Tennessee in Knoxville in a five-game come-from-behind win. Unranked South Carolina also knocked off their ranked opponent, No. 6 Florida, in Columbia in four-set win. Whose next?
Up next in the SECThis week’s Southeastern Conference matches include Auburn at Florida on Wednesday. Friday features Alabama at Auburn, Georgia at Arkansas, South Carolina at LSU, Kentucky at Mississippi State and Tennessee at Mississippi. Sunday’s matches feature South Carolina at Arkansas, Alabama at Florida, Georgia at LSU, Kentucky at Mississippi and Tennessee at Mississippi State.
Five-gamers favor ArkansasArkansas has always played well when the match goes five games and the Lady’Backs are a perfect 3-0 in five-game matches this year. The Lady’Backs are 2-2 in three-game matches and 2-1 in four-game matches in 2006.
Game two hasn’t been goodThe Lady’Backs are 7-3 in game one this year but a disappointing 3-7 in the second frame. Arkansas is 6-4 in the third, 3-3 in the fourth and 3-0 in the fifth game.
You should be winningThe Lady’Backs have out-scored opponents 1,044-995 this year. Unfortunately, more points overall doesn’t translate directly into wins and losses. The Lady’Backs may outscore an opponent by a large margin in a single game but still not win the match.
Daugherty leads the attackArkansas’ sophomore setter Caira Daugherty has the highest hitting percentage on the team this year with a .429 mark. She is hitting .667 in SEC matches. But statisticians must note that Daugherty has just 13 kills in 28 attempts this year — far off the average for most of the hitters.
Moving on upSophomore Christina Lawrence continues to improve with each match. Lawrence has worked her way up the statistics chart and is hitting .289 to lead all hitters this year. She has 80 kills and 2.29 kills per game. Lawrence’s numbers just to .318 in SEC play with 2.71 kpg through the first two matches.
Amy Allison steps up at No. 13 TennesseeSenior Amy Allison hit a season-best .500 with 15 kills, three errors and 24 attempts at No. 13 Tennessee.
Killer instinctSenior Denitza Koleva holds six of the top 10 spots for single-match kills this year. She tallied a season-best 19 kills against Sacramento State and had 18 versus No. 13 Tennessee. Junior Jessica Dorrell holds three of the other four marks highlighted by a season-best 18 kills against Stephen F. Austin. Senior Amy Allison rounds out the top 10 with a season-high 15 at No. 13 Tennessee.
Hit me againIn addition to some high kill totals, senior Denitza Koleva has hit above .300 in five matches including a season-best .444 against Southeast Missouri. Sophomore Christina Lawrence has done it four times as well.
Dig thisJunior Ashley Miller holds four of the top five single-season dig marks this year. Her season-best is 28 at Kansas. Senior Denitza Koleva jumps in with the fourth-best single-match did total with 20 against Stephen F. Austin, breaking up the Miller sweep. Miller has posted double-digit digs in all 10 of the Lady’Backs matches this year highlighted by a season-best 28 at Kansas. Koleva has had seven double-digit dig matches and junior Jessica Dorrell has had four.
Double your pleasureSenior Denitza Koleva has posted double-figure kills in nine of 10 matches this year. (She had just five at Kentucky.) In addition, Koleva has recorded a double-double (kills and digs) is seven of 10 matches in 2006.Junior Jessica Dorrell has collected double-figure kills in seven matches, senior Amy Allison has had six matches and sophomore Christina Lawrence has had three double-figure kill matches this year.
About GeorgiaThe Georgia Bulldogs come into Fayetteville in the midst of a rebuilding year and have lost seven of their last nine matches including the SEC openers against No. 6 Florida and Auburn. Maria Taylor leads Georgia with a 4.20 kill per game average and a .241 hitting percentage this year.
Arkansas versus GeorgiaArkansas leads the all-time series with the Bulldogs, 9-4. The Lady’Backs have won five of the last six including a five-game slug-fest at Athens last year.
Recapping the 2005 Georgia matchATHENS, Ga. – The University of Arkansas recorded 23.0 blocks behind career record days from several players in a thrilling five-game win at Georgia. Arkansas improved to 14-8 overall and 7-3 in the Southeastern Conference with the 26-30, 30-25, 30-27, 17-30, 15-12 win over Georgia (7-12, 2-7 SEC) in a big victory in Athens. The Lady’Backs’ 23.0 team blocks was just shy of the school record 24.0 set against Mississippi State in 1999 paced by a career-best 14 from senior Karla Crose. Arkansas had five players in double-digit kills with junior Kele Brewer recording a season-bet 13. Christina Lawrence added 12 while Crose and Denitza Koleva had 11 each. Sophomore Jessica Dorrell rounded out the double-figure totals with 10 for Arkansas. Almost lost in the excitement was Koleva’s 1,000th career kill, a put down that came in game one giving the Lady’Backs their 19th point. The Sofia, Bulgaria, native becomes the 10th player in school history to reach the 1,000-kill plateau.
About South Carolina (from uscsports.com)Senior outside hitter Shonda Cole from the South Carolina volleyball team was named the Southeastern Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week on Monday. It was the first time in Cole’s career she garnered the award. Cole helped lead USC (9-4, 2-0 SEC) to a 2-0 record last week with a 3-2 victory against Auburn and a 3-1 stunner over No. 6 Florida. The Kings Mountain, N.C., native blasted 36 kills versus Auburn and had 35 in the win over the Gators. She posted double-doubles in both contests by adding a career-high 18 digs against Auburn and had 17 against Florida. With Cole leading the way against No. 6 Florida, South Carolina managed to end a 25-match losing streak to the Gators and post just its second win against Florida since joining the SEC in 1991. Florida also is the highest-ranked team USC has defeated since the American Volleyball Coaches Association first conducted its poll in 1982.
Arkansas versus South CarolinaArkansas leads the series with Carolina, 11-6 and won five of the last seven contests.
Keep your eye on KolevaDenitza Koleva continues to climb the Arkansas record books as the season progresses. She ranks in the top 20 for career kills, digs and total blocks and is the only Lady’Back on the current roster to rank in the top 20 in all of those categories.
Chasing the impossible?Denitza Koleva ranks seventh all-time for career kills with 1276 heading into the Georgia/South Carolina weekend and has a chance to move up in the career standings as the season continues. But can she ever reach the top spot? Unfortunately, it isn’t likely. Krystal Osborne (1994-97) holds the top spot with 2,185 career kills and Koleva needs 909 more to catch her. Koleva could move into the No. 2 spot however. She is chasing all-American Kim Storey (1995-98) who has 1,471 career kills and Koleva trails her by 195.
Chasing Part IIThe same question could be asked about junior Ashley Miller and the top dig spot. Miller currently ranks third with 1,244 career digs. She trails Krystal Osborne (1994-97) who has 1,659 career digs. But Miller’s goal is closer than you think. She need just 415 to overtake Osborne. That number will be within Miller’s grasp if not this year then her senior season.
Arkansas versus the Southeastern ConferenceArkansas’ overall numbers are down a bit this year and so too, is the Lady’Backs’ rank within the SEC. This week, Arkansas ranks 11th in hitting percentage and service aces. The Lady’Backs are 10th in assists, ninth in opponent hitting percentage and kills and fourth in blocks in all matches.
Individuals in the SECArkansas senior Amy Allison ranks fourth in the SEC in blocks per game with a 1.36 average. Teammate Destiny Clark is sixth with a 1.26 bpg mark. Junior Ashley Miller ranks third in the league for digs per game with 4.77 this year.
Some time changes to rememberArkansas’ home match with Mississippi Sunday, Oct. 1 is at 1:00 p.m. (not 1:30) to accommodate the Lady Rebels’ travel schedule. Arkansas’ match at Florida has moved to 7:30 p.m. central and is a double-header with their basketball team while the Lady’Backs match at Alabama has moved to accommodate an FSN broadcast.
Some movement in the AVCA pollArkansas received eight votes in the Sept. 11 CSTV/AVCA poll but dropped out after the losses at Kentucky and No. 13 Tennessee. Florida’s loss at South Carolina dropped the Gators from No. 6 to No. 10 while LSU’s win at Tennessee moved them up from No. 18 to No. 13, dropping the Lady Vols from No. 13 to No. 17. South Carolina is getting three votes in this week’s poll.
Six more pleaseArkansas head coach Chris Poole needs six more wins to reach 300 victories with the Lady’Backs. Poole entered the year with 287 wins at Arkansas and has added seven more in 2006 bringing his total to 294. He has 528 career wins.