Jump to St. Mary’sbox score COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Arkansas used a balanced attack notching a three-game win over St. Mary’s in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Volleyball Tournament in Columbia, Mo., Friday. Arkansas improved to 21-11 overall with a 30-27, 30-17, 30-21 win over St. Mary’s who ended their season at 19-10. “We knew St. Mary’s was a great blocking team and we focused a lot on controlling that,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “They are also a very good serving team and we were able to take them out of that. Our setters did a good job of getting the ball to all of our hitters all match.” Two of the best blocking teams met up in this match but the blocking was strangely absent early. The Gaels had just 2.5 team blocks and Arkansas 3.0 after the first game. The blocking heated up as the match progressed as Arkansas, ranked 11th in the country in blocking, finished with 14.0 to the second-ranked Gaels’ 5.0 team blocks. Senior Karla Crose paced the Arkansas block with 10 block assists while teammate junior Amy Allison added eight block assists in the win. “The win feels awesome,” said Crose after the match. “We made a commitment as a team this summer and it’s paying off for us now. Our setters spread the offense and it was easy for us as hitters to get good shots.” The Lady’Backs finished the match hitting .358 with junior Denitza Koleva leading the team with 11 kills and a .241 hitting percentage. Junior Kele Brewer added nine kills as did sophomore Jessica Dorrell. Junior Amy Allison added seven kills and was unstoppable hitting .538 with no hitting errors for Arkansas. Sophomore Christina Lawrence recorded eight kills in the win. The Lady Razorbacks continue in the tournament facing the winner of the No. 10 Missouri/Missouri State match at 5:30 p.m., Saturday in the Hearnes Center. Arkansas led from the first point of the opening frame and never looked back in the win. The Lady’Backs used a balanced attack with Lawrence leading the team early with three kills in four attempts. Crose heated up later in the first game and finished with a block solo sealing the win. Koleva, Brewer and Dorrell each had three kills in the first game as Arkansas out-hit St. Mary’s .275-.209 in the game. The Lady’Backs had to survive a run by the Gaels late in the frame. Up 20-14, St. Mary’s took their first timeout and rallied out-scoring Arkansas 9-5 and closing the gap to a couple points, 25-23, as Poole took his final timeout to settle the Lady’Backs. The break was just enough for Arkansas to regroup as they finished the game with a cross-court kill from Koleva and that big block from Crose. The second frame started as a nip-and-tuck battle with the teams trading points early. Arkansas began to pull away taking a five-point, 11-6 lead as St. Mary’s confidence waned. The Lady’Backs continued to expand the lead winning the second game by 13 points. The Arkansas block became more of a factor as the match continued with the Lady’Backs posting six more in the second frame. Arkansas held the number two blocking team in the nation to just one block in game two. The Lady’Backs hit an unstoppable .593 in the game with 18 kills and just two errors in 27 attempts and were hitting .403 as a team after the second game. The even distribution of the ball continued with a pair of players, Brewer and Dorrell, leading Arkansas with seven kills each. Crose had six and three players had five kills each after game two. St. Mary’s came out of the between-game break starting game three with more momentum but Arkansas’ confidence was not deterred. The Lady’Backs trailed in the opening points but quickly regained the lead. Arkansas hit .286 in the last game out-hitting the Gaels who managed just a .085 mark. St. Mary’s was paced by Missie Stidham with 14 kills. For more information about Arkansas volleyball log on to LADYBACKS.COM.