ATHENS, Ga. – Freshman Jasmine Norton turned in a double-double performance and four Razorback hitters finished with at least six kills Friday as the University of Arkansas volleyball team defeated Georgia in straight sets, 25-18, 25-20, 25-20. With the victory, Arkansas (8-8, 2-3 SEC) snaps a three-match skid and eclipses the team’s win total from last season. Norton finished the match with 10 kills and 12 digs.In the first set, the Razorbacks started fast by winning the first three points of the match. Kills by Kristin Seaton and Kelli Stipanovich got Arkansas on the board. Norton added a pair of early blocks to give her team a cushion and with his team trailing, 8-4, Georgia head coach Joel McCartney called the first timeout of the match.The Razorbacks maintained their four-point advantage until Georgia closed to within two, 12-10, after an attack error by Seaton, but Arkansas responded with four consecutive points capped by an illegal set by the Bulldogs’ Briana Bahr and led, 16-10. A kill by Janeliss Torres-Lopez gave the Razorbacks the 20-15 advantage and forced a second Georgia timeout.Arkansas opened a seven-point lead at 24-17 on an error by Bahr to arrive at set point. Georgia saved the first, but on the next play, Stipanovich put away her third kill to give the team a 25-18 victory in set one.Set two began as the first ended with the Razorbacks jumping out to an 8-4 lead on a block by Norton and Torres-Lopez. Later in the set, with her team leading by four, Stipanovich recorded three consecutive kills to push the Arkansas lead to 17-10.Georgia (10-5, 1-3) reeled off four points in a row to force an Arkansas timeout. The timeout proved effective as Adria Fecteau put her serve into the net on the next play and the Razorbacks led, 18-14.
The teams traded points until late in the set when Arkansas grabbed the 24-18 lead for a handful of set points. The Bulldogs could only hold off the inevitable for two points and on the third set point, Valentina Gonzalez put another serve into the net to give the Razorbacks the set, 25-20.
Georgia struggled from the service line all match, giving away 14 points on service errors against the Razorbacks.
After intermission, the third set opened in Georgia’s favor with the home team jumping out to a 5-1 advantage. Despite the early deficit, the Razorbacks pushed back into the set to force one of many ties to be had in the final set of play. Another service error by Georgia evened the score, 10-10. In the third set, the score was tied on eight different occasions.
Managing to hang around and keep the score close, the Razorbacks couldn’t grab the lead until Norton claimed her final kill of the match to give her team the 18-17 advantage. Arkansas saw a one-point lead increase to four after three consecutive miscues by the Bulldogs-a service error from Kathleen Gates and attack errors by Bahr and Erika Clark. The Razorbacks led, 23-19.
The final two points for Arkansas came off the hand of Stipanovich and the third set was secured, 25-20, to win the match. The sophomore outside hitter finished the night with nine kills and a season-high two aces. Amanda Anderson totaled seven kills and Seaton put away six kills for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas returns to the court for an Oct. 4 matchup at Auburn. First serve is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (CT) at the Student Activities Center on the AU campus. Live stats and an internet broadcast will also be available once play begins at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
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