TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Hailey Dirrigl and Reagan Robinson registered career highs Wednesday night in a five-set road loss at Alabama. Dirrigl put down 20 kills in the first 20-kill performance of her young career while Robinson added 13 kills against the Crimson Tide. The Razorbacks also picked up double-double efforts from Pilar Victoria and Rachel Rippee in the setback and junior libero Okiana Valle picked up a season-best 26 digs.
With the loss, Arkansas drops to 11-4 overall with a 1-2 mark in SEC play. Wednesday’s match was the Razorbacks’ sixth five setter of the season, and represented the ninth in the program’s all-time series against Alabama. The team’s next match is Sunday, Oct. 1 at Auburn.
Alabama 3, Arkansas 2 | Box Score
Attendance: 846 | Time: 2:28
Foster Auditorium (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
- Leaders at Alabama
- Kills: Pilar Victoria – 29
- Digs: Okiana Valle – 26
- Blocks: Kelly O’Brien – 4.0 (1-3)
- Rachel Rippee – 59 assists, 10 digs
- Pilar Victoria – 29 kills, 15 digs
Facing a strong Alabama block throughout the match, Victoria tallied 29 kills and tied a season high with 15 digs to complete her team-leading eighth double-double of the season. Rippee matched her career best with 59 assists against the Crimson Tide to go along with 10 digs, and her seventh double-double.
Defensively, the Razorbacks collected a season-high 89 digs, besting the team’s previous high of 73 established at UCSB (Sept. 9). Senior defensive specialist Krista Kolbinskie was the fourth Razorbacks with double-digit digs, finishing the night with a career-high 16 digs. She has 10 or more digs in five of the last nine matches, and at least nine in seven of those nine. Kelly O’Brien led the efforts at the net with four total blocks.
With the match tied 1-1, Arkansas and Alabama (12-4, 1-2 SEC) produced a third set that featured 23 ties and seven lead changes. Neither team led by more than three at any point with the Razorbacks going ahead 20-17 after consecutive blocks featuring O’Brien. The Crimson Tide won the next three points to even the frame and send the teams into a back-and-forth finish.
The home team led 24-23 when Dirrigl responded with a kill followed by her first-career service ace to give Arkansas a set point of its own. Overall, the Razorbacks saved four set points. With the score tied at 30-all, Dirrigl delivered another kill that gave the team its fourth set point. Valle secured the set and a 2-1 match lead with an ace. The 32-30 score was the second-longest set of the season, trailing the 33-31 winning frame against Yale (Sept. 8).
The Razorbacks scored the first two points of the fourth set but Alabama won the next four to go ahead on the scoreboard, and led by as many as six with a 17-11 lead. Arkansas reeled off eight of the next 11 points to pull within one at 20-19 after back-to-back kills by Victoria. Holding on to a 23-22 lead, the Crimson Tide won the next two points to push the match to a fifth set.
In the decisive frame, Alabama jumped out to a 5-1 advantage and led 8-2 when the teams switched sides of the court. The Razorbacks got late kills from Robinson and Dirrigl before Alabama secured the victory on a double-contact violation. With the loss, Arkansas drops to 3-3 in five-set matches this season.
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