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Balanced attack can’t lift Arkansas

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Balanced attack can’t lift Arkansas

Jump to Florida box score TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The match had it all – balance, double-digit blocking, unbelievable serving. It had everything but an Arkansas victory. The University of Arkansas suffered a five-game, 30-24, 27-30, 25-30, 24-30, 13-15 loss to No. 4 Florida in second round action of the 2005 Southeastern Conference Volleyball Championship in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Sunday, and was eliminated from bracket play. The loss drops Arkansas to 20-11 overall while Florida moves to 27-2 on the year. ”The kids played well,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “I’m so proud of them and the way we battled. “All of them played hard and with a lot of focus. This was the most complete match we’ve played all year.” Arkansas and Florida were evenly matched statistically both hitting .250 for the event with the Lady’Backs getting 75 kills and the Gators recording 78. Redshirt freshman Christina Lawrence matched her career high with 17 kills and hit .350 pacing four Lady’Backs with double-digit kills. Junior Denitza Koleva added 15, followed by 13 from junior Amy Allison and 11 from senior Karla Crose in one of the most balanced matches of the year. Allison hit a team-best .435 in the match. Arkansas dominated the block, out-doing the Gators 17.0 to 11.0 and had a season-best eight service aces in the loss. Allison posted one block solo and 11 block assists leading Arkansas while Kele Brewer and Crose each added five block assists for Arkansas. The loss eliminates Arkansas from the SEC Tournament but keeps the Lady’Backs hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid alive. Arkansas and the rest of the country await word of selections in an NCAA selection show next Sunday. After winning the first game, a game in which Arkansas grabbed an early lead and maintained it for the win, the Lady’Backs saw the Gators come to life winning the second frame. The back-and-forth battle continued in game three with Arkansas emerging as the winner but again Florida answered in the fourth for the win. The fifth game provided the most drama and continued the sea-saw battle between the teams. The Gators scored the first two points but Arkansas quickly answered with kills from Jessica Dorrell and Koleva. Dorrell finished the night with nine kills and a .273 hitting percentage. Knotted at two, the teams exchanged points with Florida reaching the mid-way mark first taking advantage of an Arkansas hitting error to lead, 8-7, when the teams traded sides. The Gators managed a 2-1 run after the break taking a 10-8 lead and Poole took the first timeout of the final frame. Allison got a quick kill out of the break but back-to-back unforced errors by Arkansas stretched the Florida lead to 12-9, and Poole burned his final timeout. A Gator ace seemed to seal Arkansas’ fate but the Lady’Backs wouldn’t go quietly. Dorrell got a kill bringing Arkansas within three but a kill from the SEC Player of the Year, Jane Colleymore, moved Florida to match point with a 14-10 lead. Koleva stepped up with a kill through the middle of the Gator defense and Brewer slammed a ball to the court after Florida over-passed it on a serve narrowing the Florida lead and prompting a timeout. The break did not settle the Gators as they committed a hitting error bringing Arkansas even closer, 14-13. The Gators quickly called their final timeout and returned to the court with a kill after a long rally to end the match. “The balance we had tonight was what we’ve been looking for all year,” said Poole. “We knew that if our setters could spread the ball out, we could play with anyone in the country and we were able to do that tonight. It was a great match.” Colleymore led the Gators with 28 kills in the match. Kisya Killingsworth added 18 and Kari Klinkenborg tallied 12 for the Gators.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)