FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas volleyball team begins its final home weekend of the season with a Friday match-up against Georgia. First serve of the Southeastern Conference meeting is set for 7 p.m. (CT) at Barnhill Arena. The Razorbacks enter the weekend with a 19-8 overall record and a 10-6 tally in conference play.
Single-match tickets are $4, while fans 17 years and younger are admitted for free. University of Arkansas students attending volleyball matches this season are asked to use the street-level entrance on Stadium Drive to enter Barnhill Arena and have their university IDs swiped for RazorRewards points. The first 100 students in attendance will receive a free hot dog.
With four matches to go in the regular season, Arkansas’ 19 wins are the program’s most under the direction of head coach Robert Pulliza. The 10 SEC wins tie the team’s conference output from last year. The team finished last year with an 18-13 overall record and a 10-10 league mark. The Razorbacks’ 12 home wins are the most for an Arkansas team since the 2002 season.
"Anytime you’re winning down the stretch, it helps the team’s energy and focus moving forward" Pulliza said. "The wins certainly keep you moving in the right direction. We have two important matches this weekend that are no different than any of the SEC matches we’ve had from the beginning. We just have to keep taking them one match at a time."
In the last three matches, Arkansas is picking up 17.00 digs per set, nearly two digs more than its season average. The Razorbacks’ out-dug Kentucky in their last match, 80-74, and had four players with double-digit dig totals including Roslandy Acosta and Emily Helm with a match-high 20 digs each, Monica Bollinger with a career-best 13 digs and Raymariely Santos with 10.
Having moved into second place on Arkansas’ all-time kills list earlier this season, Jasmine Norton is the SEC active kills leader with 1,718 career kills. She is now 19 kills shy of the No. 10 spot on the conference’s all-time list (1,737 kills – Molly Dreisbach, Kentucky). No player has cracked the SEC top-10 kills list since the 2006 season.
In the Nov. 12 release of the RPI for the 2012 volleyball season, Arkansas is ranked 25th in the nation. The Razorbacks are one of five SEC teams in the top 25 and one of seven in the top 50. Four of Arkansas’ non-conference opponents-Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma and Tulsa-are inside the top 60. Collectively, the Razorbacks are ranked 50th in the NCAA with a .243 hitting percentage.
Arkansas leads the all-time series with Georgia, 17-9. Earlier this season, the Razorbacks went to Athens, Ga., to knock off UGA in three sets. Acosta paced the team in that match with 12 kills and a .550 hitting percentage, while the Arkansas defense held the Bulldogs to a .067 hitting percentage.
Georgia enters Friday’s match with a 13-13 overall record and a 7-9 mark in conference play. The Bulldogs have lost five straight, including a five-set loss to Texas A&M in their last outing. Brittany Northcutt leads the team with 2.94 kills per set while Allison Summers, the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Week, averages 4.78 digs per set.
Coverage of this weekend’s matches will include an interactive blog, live stats and a video stream. For more information regarding Razorback volleyball or Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas volleyball this season through the team’s sport-specific RazorbackVB Facebook and Twitter pages.
Download: Match Notes 15_Georgia, Ole Miss.pdf