FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team closes out the home portion of its 2009 schedule with pair of matches this weekend at Barnhill Arena, beginning with a Nov. 20 meeting with the Auburn Tigers. First serve of the Southeastern Conference divisional matchup is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CT). "These next three matches have ramifications in terms of where everyone finishes (in the SEC)," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "We’re still playing for position in conference play. We can finish as high as fifth, but we were picked 10th (in the preseason poll), so we’re playing for a lot and looking forward to a fun weekend at home."Arkansas (12-16, 6-11 SEC) is paced by Jasmine Norton and her 4.05 kills per set, the second-best mark in the conference. The six-time SEC Freshman of the Week is averaging a league-high 4.45 kills per set during conference play. Norton is also tied for second in the conference with 0.33 aces per set. Kelli Stipanovich is second on the team with 2.38 kills per set, followed by Amanda Anderson and Kristin Seaton who are averaging 2.27 and 2.14 kills per set, respectively.In the Razorbacks’ last outing, a five-set win at Alabama, Cassie Clarke got her first career start and dished out 38 assists. The freshman setter also added four kills, eight digs, two service aces and one block. Lindsay Scanlan, the starter for the majority of the season, stands fourth in the SEC with 9.81 assists per set.Defensively, Arkansas is led by libero Phoebe Bautista. The Oakland, Calif., native is averaging 3.83 digs per set, the ninth-best average in the conference. Norton, who has posted five consecutive double-double efforts, is second on the team with 2.19 digs per set. At the net, Anderson leads the team with 0.83 blocks pet set. She has recorded 14 total blocks in the Razorbacks’ last four matches.In the first meeting this season between the two teams, the Tigers came away with a five-set victory over Arkansas. In the loss, Norton finished with a match-high 20 kills, while Anderson and Stipanovich each added 10 putaways. Anderson also posted seven total blocks in the contest. Arkansas leads the all-time series between the two teams, 28-4.
"We had Auburn at their place (on Oct. 4) and won the first two sets," Pulliza said. "But they did a really good job of coming out of the 10-minute break to play some good volleyball to get the next three to beat us. I’m expecting a good match, and just like any other match, we’re going in to get the win."
For Auburn (15-13, 7-10 SEC), Sarah Bullock leads a group of four players averaging between 2.12 and 2.52 kills pet set. Operating in a 6-2 offensive system, setters Christina Solverson and Sara Shanks are averaging 10.54 assists pet set, collectively. Liz Crouch is sixth in the SEC with 4.05 digs per set, and Alyssa Davis is eighth in the conference with a .319 hitting percentage.Due to the Razorback men’s basketball game at Bud Walton Arena, parking in Lot 67 or the lots adjacent to the Barnhill Arena will be blocked. Additional parking for Friday’s volleyball match will be available in Lot 44 (north of Razorback Stadium), Lots 72 and 73 (west of Razorback Stadium and practice fields) and the Union parking deck.The Razorbacks play their final home match of the season Nov. 22 with a 1:30 p.m. (CT) matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs. Sunday’s contest will also be Senior Day for Arkansas’ two seniors, Seaton and Scanlan. They will be recognized before the match begins. For more information, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
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