SEC PLAY BEGINSArkansas returns to the gym this week in preparation of the start of Southeastern Conference play. Arkansas opens the SEC season at Auburn Friday in Razorbacks’ only match of the week. Auburn is the odd team out this year in the continuing rotation of SEC travel partners. Arkansas hosts Auburn Oct. 26, a Sunday, in another single-match SEC weekend.STIPANOVICH EARNS ALL-TOURNAMENTTrue freshman Kelli Stipanovich earned the first all-tournament team honor of her career this weekend at the Arkansas Invitational. For the week, Stipanovich hit .255 with 3.81 kpg. She posted a season/career-best 19 kills against Tulsa and had a season/career-best hitting percentage of .346 against Lamar. Her eight digs against Tulsa was also a season/career-best until she bettered that number in the next match against Lamar with 11.
LAWRENCE EARNS ALL-TOURNAMENTSenior Christina Lawrence also earned all-tournament team honors last weekend. Lawrence hit .246 for three matches with 25 kills . The Sullivan, Mo., native had 2.73 points-per-set with 2.36 dpg and 0.64 bpg for Arkansas.LAWRENCE MOVES UP THE LISTSenior Christina Lawrence is on pace to become the 13th player in program history to reach 1,000 career kills. Lawrence is currently 16th on the list with 848 career kills. Here’s the top 16 list.FIVE IN A ROWFreshman Kelli Stipanovich made it five in a row this weekend with five consecutive matches with double-figure kills.ARKANSAS IN THE SEC STATSArkansas has four players represented in this week’s Southeastern Conference stats. Freshman Kelli Stipanovich ranks tied for ninth in kills-per-game with a 3.12 average. Caira Dortch is sixth in assists-per-game with 9.25, Yun Tang is first in blocks-per-game with a 1.54 average and Phoebe Bautista is fifth in digs-per-game with a 3.82 average.TANG RANKS HIGHSenior Yun Tang ranks first in the SEC in blocks per game (see the note above). In addition her numbers rank her seventh in the nation this week for bpg.ARKANSAS IN SEC OPENERSArkansas is 7-7 all-time in the season-opening Southeastern Conference match. The Razorbacks are 5-3 in home SEC openers and 2-4 in road SEC openers. Arkansas has faced Kentucky, Alabama and LSU twice each in the season SEC opener.ABOUT AUBURNAuburn enters the weekend with a 5-6 overall record as they too begin league play. The Tigers are hitting .179 as a team paced by Jonelle Wallace (.298) and Lauren Mellor (.282). The Tigers are young with 13 of 16 players either freshmen or sophomores. Lone senior Jessica Glover has started every match and leads the team with 2.88 kills per game. Arkansas and Auburn have had one common opponent this year and that was No. 25 Michigan. Both the Razorbacks and Tigers fell to the Wolverines with Arkansas losing in three and Auburn falling in four sets.BY THE NUMBERS
ARKANSAS VERSUS AUBURNArkansas leads the series with Auburn 26-3. The Razorbacks won the first six meetings before falling to the Tigers in Fayetteville in 1996. Arkansas won the next 18 meetings between the two teams. Recently Auburn has split the series 2-2 in the last four matches. Arkansas is 13-1 in Auburn, 12-2 in Barnhill Arena and 1-0 on a neutral court (Baton Rouge for the 1995 SEC Tournament).
SHORT AND SWEETAlthough Arkansas doesn’t like the taste. The Razorbacks have played 10 matches, eight of which have gone the minimum three sets. Arkansas is 3-5 in three set contests. Their wins have come against Georgia State, Lamar and Tennessee-Martin.
HOW’S THE SEC?In a word – good. The SEC finished pre-conference play with a 64-40 record for a .165 winning percentage. The Eastern Division was 35-12 (.745) while the Western Division finished 29-28 (.501) in matches played before the start of SEC play.
WHERE’S SEATON?Great question. Junior Kristin Seaton has been moved between the middle blocker and outside hitter positions depending on Arkansas’ immediate needs against an opponent. Continue to look for her in either spot as the season continues.
RAZORBACKS MAKE 2008 RADIO DEBUTThe Arkansas Razorback volleyball team returns to the KXUA airways this week for their single match at Auburn. The Razorbacks go live at 7 p.m. Central from Auburn, Ala. KXUA is 88.3 FM on the dial in Northwest Arkansas. The broadcast also airs live on ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Jeri Thorpe provides the play-by-play along with Stephen McGown for your color analysis. Here is the complete KXUA broadcast schedule for 2008:
|Sept. 19||at Auburn||6 p.m.|
|Oct. 10||Alabama||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 12||Mississippi State||1:30 p.m.|
|Oct. 17||at Kentucky||6 p.m.|
|Oct. 19||at Tennessee||12:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 7||Tennessee||7 p.m.|
|Nov. 9||Kentucky||1:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 14||at Mississippi State||7 p.m.|
|Nov. 21||LSU||7 p.m.|
|Nov. 23||Ole Miss||7 p.m.|
All Postseason matches
UP NEXTArkansas hosts No. 11 Florida and South Carolina in a Friday-Sunday series as the Southeastern Conference schedule begins.