Arkansas returns to the road this weekThe Lady Razorbacks hit the road this week for a pair of SEC matches at LSU and Ole Miss. Last week marked the half-way point of the SEC as Arkansas, and the rest of the league, makes its way back through the conference schedule seeing teams for the second time this year.
Where did that come from?The University of Arkansas notched one of the biggest wins in program history Friday, Oct. 12, with a five-game win over No. 5 Florida in Barnhill Arena. It was only the second time in Arkansas history that the Lady’Backs have defeated the Gators (1997 at the SEC Championship in Athens, Ga.) and it comes in the midst of one of the toughest seasons in program history.
More about the Florida matchArkansas won games one and two but needed extra points (31-29, 32-30) and the games could have easily gone the Gators’ way. Florida stormed back in three and four, holding Arkansas to just 12 points in the fourth game as they seemed to be cruising to a five-game win. But it was Arkansas’ turn to rally. Trailing 14-10 in the fifth game, Arkansas came back to win 20-18 in one of the most exciting matches in Arkansas history.
Jessica Dorrell helps Arkansas win twoSenior Jessica Dorrell had one of her most consistent weekends leading Arkansas to a pair of wins over No. 5 Florida and South Carolina. Dorrell hit .289 with 23 kills against the Gators – it was just the fourth time this year Dorrell has posted more than 20 kills and was just shy of her best of 26 kills. Dorrell added 17 digs and four blocks helping Arkansas to a 4-1 record in its last five matches.
Sarah Freudenrich plays well – againFreshman Sarah Freudenrich paced the University of Arkansas to one of the biggest wins in program history as the Lady’Backs defeated fifth-ranked Florida Friday. Freudenrich, a true freshman, has helped Arkansas to a 4-1 record over the last five matches and led the team this weekend with 15 total blocks.
Arkansas has won four of last five matchesThe Lady Razorbacks may have turned a corner winning four of the last five matches (all SEC matches). In those five matches, Arkansas has hit just .197 – well below the season average of .213 – but has found a way to win. Freshman Sarah Freudenrich has paced Arkansas hitting .337 with 43 kills, 1.87 kills per game and a team-best 42 blocks for a 1.83 block per game average.
Lawrence recovers quicklyJunior Christina Lawrence injured her back in practice prior to Georgia match Oct. 5. She missed that match as well as the Auburn contest but made her return against Florida. Lawrence is hitting .326 in the last five matches with 39 kills, 3.00 kills per game, eight digs and 13 total blocks.
Give it to me in fiveThe Lady Razorbacks have, historically, played well in five-game matches and that trend seems to be continuing again this year. Arkansas is 5-2 in five-game matches with wins over Pepperdine, Temple, Tennessee, Georgia and No. 5 Florida. The two losses came at the hands of Fresno State and Auburn.Four of Arkansas’ last five matches have gone five games with Arkansas winning three (lost to Auburn) of those recent contests.
Non-Conference schedule over – almostArkansas’ 2007 non-conference schedule seemed to fly by. The Lady Razorbacks played to a 6-4 non-conference mark. The Lady’Backs have one more non-conference match remaining during the regular season. Arkansas hosts Connecticut Nov. 24, prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament.
Setters move up on career listsArkansas has used two setters to run the offense for several seasons and not since the first four years of the program have the Lady Razorbacks had a setter who set nearly every ball for four seasons (Tina Rico). That being said, reaching statistical milestones as a setter is difficult when you split time. Both of Arkansas current setters, Nicole Martin and Lindsay Scanlan, have surpassed, the 1,000-assist milestone. Although no where near the record of 5,886 assists held by Rico, 1,000 is still a good number. In fact, only seven setters have 1,000 or more assists. Martin slid over 1,000 career assists during the Northern Iowa match and has 1,252 while Scanlan stands at 1,115.
Miller owns Arkansas digs recordSenior Ashley Miller holds the Arkansas record for digs with 1893 (through 10-15). In fact, she holds all of Arkansas’ dig records. Miller has the match record with 36 against Ole Miss (10-1-06), single season with 548 (2005), career with 1893 and climbing, career digs per game with 4.32 (through 10-15-07) and was the digs per game leader in 2004, 2005 and 2006.But where do those numbers rank in the NCAA? The single-match record for digs is 62 (Jessica Strama, McNeese St. vs. Texas-Arlington, Oct. 13, 2006); the single-season record under the current scoring system is 924 (Paula Gentil, Minnesota, 2004 [138 games]); the career record is 2,791 (Paula Gentil, Minnesota, 2002-05 [506 games]; season digs per game is 7.68 (Amanda McCormick, Ball St., 2006 [852 digs in 111 games]) and career 5.80 (Amanda McCormick, Nebraska/Ball St., 2003-04; 05-06 [2,297 digs in 396 games]).
An SEC bottleneckAs teams work their way into the mid-point of the season, the SEC standings are still a mess. The winners continue to win with Florida atop the standings with a 9-1 mark. LSU leads the West and is second overall at 7-3 tied with Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi. Georgia is tied for sixth overall at 4-6 along with Arkansas who move up from the basement this week. Tennessee and Mississippi State are both 3-7 and Auburn and South Carolina are at the bottom of the standings with 2-8 SEC records.
Arkansas in the SEC stats – SEC-Only matchesThe Lady’Backs’ 4-6 mark in the SEC, not surprisingly, finds the team at the bottom of most of the SEC statistics as well. Here’s a look at where Arkansas ranks: 10th for hitting percentage (.186); eighth in opponent hitting percentage (.225); eighth in assists (13.21), eighth in kills (14.28); 10th in service aces (1.03); and 10th in digs (15.00). On the bright side, Arkansas is first overall in blocks with a 3.08 block per game average.
Arkansas in the SEC stats – All matchesArkansas’ numbers are a bit better in all matches (conference and non-conference). The Lady’Backs are sixth in hitting percentage (.213); eighth in assists (13.43); ninth in opponent hitting percentage (.218); eighth in kills (14.73); sixth in service aces (1.66) and 11th in digs (14.18). Surprisingly, the Lady’Backs fall to fifth in all-match blocks with a 2.88 block per game average.
Freudenrich tops in the SECDespite Arkansas’ win-loss woes, freshman Sarah Freudenrich is making a name for herself. The Broken Arrow, Okla., native ranks first in the SEC (in SEC-only matches) for blocks per game with a 1.62 bpg average. Freudenrich has eight solos and 55 block assists for 63.0 total blocks this year. Freudenrich is second in all matches averaging 1.48 blocks per game with 18 solos and 96 assists for 114.0 total blocks.
Dorrell ranks in kills per gameSenior Jessica Dorrell finds herself ranked fourth this week in kills per game. The Aledo, Texas, native is averaging 4.08 kills per game in all matches. Dorrell ranks sixth in SEC-only contests with 3.74 kpg this year. Dorrell is also ninth in league matches with 0.36 service aces per game.
Miller ranks in digs per gameSenior Ashley Miller leads Arkansas in digs and ranks seventh in the SEC for digs per game. The Vacaville, Calif., native is averaging 4.49 dpg with 175 digs in SEC only matches. Miller ranks sixth in all matches as well averaging 4.55 dpg with 337 total digs this year.
Arkansas is the SEC’s odd team outThe SEC has 11 teams that sponsor volleyball (Vanderbilt does not have a team). Each year there is one team who does not rotate through the conference schedule with a travel partner. This year, that team is Arkansas. As a result, the Lady Razorbacks do not play a mid-week conference match. In fact, Arkansas has only one match this year that does not fall on a weekend and that is a Tuesday match against Oral Roberts Aug. 28. It also means that instead of facing Mississippi and Mississippi State in the same weekend or Alabama and Auburn, the schedule is much more varied – and travel is much more interesting.
Another SEC reminderThe SEC eliminated the conference tournament last year instead opting for a double-round robin format in which teams play each other twice during the course of the season. That format continues for the 2007 season.
Can I get on the internet please?Every Lady Razorback volleyball match will be carried on the internet in some capacity this year. Every Lady Razorback home match will have live stats, a live audio broadcast and a live video broadcast of the event. Fans can find those at LADYBACKS.COM. All road SEC matches will have audio on LADYBACKS.COM and most will have live stats on either the host site or LADYBACKS.COM. The radio broadcasts for all road SEC matches can also be heard in the Fayetteville area on KXUA, 88.3 FM.