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Billikens battle big block by Arkansas

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Billikens battle big block by Arkansas

Jump to St. Louisbox score FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas posted a near-record 21.5 blocks but suffered a five-game, come-from-behind loss to St. Louis in Barnhill Arena Tuesday. “That was a hugely disappointing match,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “In fact, that might be the most disappointing loss in my 22 years as a coach. We needed players to step up tonight and no one did.” After winning the firs two games by a combined 10 points, Arkansas let up and the Billikens fired up winning the next two and forcing a deciding fifth game. The Lady’Backs were 4-1 in five games this year prior to Tuesday’s match and fell to 4-2 in five game matches, 11-7 overall after the upset. The Lady’Backs block was huge in the match with Arkansas collecting a near school record 21.5 team blocks but the Billikens rallied for the 26-30, 24-30, 32-30, 30-24, 16-14 win over Arkansas. Freshman Kristin Seaton had a career night with 12 kills and eight blocks. Redshirt freshman Christina Lawrence paced the team with 14 kills and hit .321 while senior Karla Crose added 11 kills, hit .526 and had eight blocks. Lady’Back junior Amy Allison and sophomore Jessica Dorrell each had 11 kills for Arkansas in the loss. The deciding game never went Arkansas’ way as the Lady’Backs trailed from the opening serve. Down by as many as four, Arkansas managed a run late in the frame but couldn’t overcome the early deficit. The Lady’Backs found themselves down three, 10-13, but got a soft kill from Seaton followed by an SLU hitting error to close within one. Seaton added another kill to tie the game at 14 as the Billikens burned their final timeout. They scored on back-to-back kills for the win. Arkansas jumped out early against St. Louis in the first game stretching the lead to six, 11-5, and never looked back. The Billikens made a run late in the game, closing the gap to a pair of points as Poole took his first timeout to regroup the Lady’Backs. The break was just what Arkansas needed as they sailed to the four point win behind the four-kill performance from Allison. Arkansas collected six team blocks in the first frame paced by Seaton, Allison and Crose’s efforts at the net. The game-one win snaps a streak of eight consecutive first frame losses by Arkansas dating back to Sept. 16, when Arkansas defeated UNLV in three games in San Diego. The blocking continued to lead the Arkansas scoring with the Lady’Backs posting five more in game two en route to a six-point win. Arkansas hit .382 in the second game with six kills from Seaton bringing her total to nine on the match – a career-best with at least one more game to play. “Kristin continues to learn and adjust to the speed of the college game,” said Poole. “She gets better every day in practice and we were glad to get her some more playing time tonight.” Arkansas spotted St. Louis and early lead in the third game finally tying the score at six on a kill from Brewer. But the Lady’Backs couldn’t hang on to the margin spotting the Billikens a pair of points. The block returned but Arkansas, trailing SLU, traded points and never seemed to take control of the game. The third frame was close the entire length of the game but Arkansas seemed to finally work out a solid lead up 27-23 late. The Billikens, however, had other ideas and behind the serving of Aida Antanaviciute made a run and took the lead 28-27 as Arkansas couldn’t generate any offense. Again the teams exchanged points but SLU had the momentum using an Arkansas service error and finally a kill from Tayana Menshikova to win the game. “It was disappointing not to be able to finish game three,” said Poole. “We seemed to have had trouble either getting started or finishing and that’s something we’re going to have to address quickly as the season progresses.” The Lady’Backs came out of fire to start the fourth game taking a 6-2 lead but couldn’t keep the pressure on St. Louis. The Billikens tied the game at nine and the frame was again tied at 11, 12 and 13 points before St. Louis took the lead and began to pull away. Poole burned his first timeout of the game trailing 17-14, and took the second and final break behind 21-15, trying to rally Arkansas. Lawrence emerged from the final break with a booming cross court kill but a USL block kept the visitor in control. The teams began to play side-out volleyball and the Lady’Backs were never able to string together a run of points dropping the fourth game by six. The Lady Razorbacks return to SEC action Friday hosting Mississippi at 7:00 p.m., followed by a 1:30 p.m. conference match against Mississippi State Sunday in Barnhill. For more information and tickets please call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)