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Dorrell leads Arkansas to big SEC win

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Dorrell leads Arkansas to big SEC win

Jump to Alabama box score TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Freshman Jessica Dorrell might not have lived through the University of Arkansas’ volleyball history with Alabama but she had no problem getting into the rivalry Sunday leading the Lady Razorbacks to a four-game Southeastern Conference win in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Aledo, Texas, native recorded 13 kills, hit .667 and added two block assists in Arkansas’ 30-28, 22-30, 30-23, 30-38 win over Alabama improving the Lady’Backs’ record to 7-8 on the year and 5-1 in the SEC. The Crimson Tide fell to 13-4 overall and 3-3 in the league. The win preserves Arkansas’ position atop the SEC Western Division with Alabama close behind. The two teams meet again in Fayetteville Oct. 29. “We knew this was a big match,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “We even felt like it was a must-win for us to control our own destiny both in the West and to remain in third overall in the SEC. I couldn’t be more proud of the team. They really fought hard and showed a lot of character in a hostile environment. This was a good weekend for us.” The fourth-frame nail-bitter had fans, coaches and players on the edge of their seats from the first serve. Alabama opened with a lead going up by four, 6-2, but the Lady’Backs battled back with a balanced attack fueled by Dorrell. The teams found themselves tied at 10 and Poole took a timeout with his team trailing 12-10. Alabama, with a loud crowd of 259 behind them, rolled out to a three point lead but Arkansas was never out of the game. Poole burned his second timeout trailing 21-19, putting the match in the hands of his players from that point on. The Lady’Backs found a way to answer the call despite Bama’s four-point lead, tying the game at 25 on a kill from sophomore Kele Brewer late in the frame. The Crimson Tide regained the lead on one of Erin Heffner’s match-best 30 kills but a tip from Dorrell again evened the score. Alabama rushed the next point hitting the ball long to hand Arkansas the lead. Crimson Tide skipper Judy Green called her final timeout and Bama’s Crystal Hudson tied the game with a kill that kissed the left sideline. An Alabama block assist gave the home team the lead in the back-and-forth battle but Arkansas didn’t panic. Senior Fort Smith, Ark., native Jennifer Haaser pulled the team together on the court calming the nerves and Dorrell responded with a kill from freshman setter Amanda Eskridge tying the game at 28. Haaser came through with a service ace followed by a block from Dorrell and junior Karla Crose giving Arkansas the win. “A lot of things could have gone wrong at that point,” said Poole. “We couldn’t help them anymore with a timeout. They had to dig deep and find a way. They did that and I’m very proud of that.” Dorrell and Brewer finished the match with 13 kills each with Brewer hitting .367 and recording three blocks. Sophomore Denitza Koleva added 10 kills, hit .333, recorded six digs and had a pair of blocks while Haaser paced the team with seven blocks in the win. The first game was a tooth-and-nail affair with both teams scratching for each point. Arkansas escaped with the win out-hitting the Tide .206-.171. Alabama lead for much of the frame but Arkansas stayed close finally tying the game at 25-all. Arkansas took its first lead, 26-25, on the second consecutive Tide hitting error and prompted Bama’s Green to take her final timeout. Arkansas emerged from the bench with a block assist from Amy Allison and Haaser followed by a kill from Brewer on an overpass by the Tide giving the Lady’Backs a 28-25 lead. Allison and Haaser again teamed for a block assist and Arkansas had game point leading 29-15. The Crimson Tide fought back, however, scoring three points and forcing Poole to burn his final timeout to try and quiet the crowd and slow Alabama down. The tactic worked as a Tide service error handed Arkansas the 30-28 win to start the match. The Arkansas momentum seemed to carry over into the second frame in the early goings as the Lady’Backs opened a4-2 lead but the home team stormed back overtaking Arkansas at the four-point mark and never looked back cruising to the 30-23 win. Statistically the teams were almost even in hitting percentage with the advantage going to Alabama, .200 to .194, but Arkansas had just 25 kills to the Tide’s 34 with Alabama’s Heffner leading the match with 12 and a .409 hitting percentage. Blocking was even at six each after game two but Alabama had five aces to Arkansas’ one and had out-dug the Lady’Backs 18 to 16. Arkansas played its most dominate game in the third frame controlling the lead from the first serve. The Lady’Backs jumped out to a four-point lead and led by as many as seven before winning by that margin. Freshman libero Ashley Miller served for the Lady’Backs final five points in the win. Arkansas returns to SEC play on the road next week at Georgia Oct. 15, followed by a match at No. 8 Florida Sunday, Oct. 17. The Lady’Backs return home hosting Eastern Division rival Kentucky Oct. 22, followed by a non-conference match against Valparaiso Sunday, Oct. 24, in Barnhill Arena. For more information and tickets please call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to www.ladybacks.com.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)