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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – With a sigh of relief that could be heard around the gym, the University of Arkansas volleyball team got its first Southeastern Conference win downing Tennessee in five games in Knoxville, Tenn., Sunday.

Arkansas through a block party with 20.0 team blocks in the 32-30, 27-30, 30-27, 20-30, 15-8 win improving to 7-9 overall and 1-5 in the SEC. Tennessee fell to 7-6 overall and 2-4 in the league.

“Certainly it was a good win and we’re glad to get that first one,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “It’s always a good match at Tennessee. They are a very similar team to us in that they are young and are making a lot of unforced errors. This really could have gone either way and we’re glad to get the win.”

The win was fueled by the best blocking performance of the year. The Lady’Backs out-blocked Tennessee 20-13 behind career numbers from freshman Sarah Freudenrich who tallied one block solo and 12 block assists. Sophomore Catherine Fowler added one solo and six block assists while junior Christina Lawrence had eight block assists in the win.

Lawrence also led the hitters with 17 kills and a team-best .389 hitting percentage. Senior Jessica Dorrell had 19 kills and Fowler added 12 kills hitting .296 in the win.

Arkansas dominated the first game hitting .319 with Dorrell and Lawrence firing from all cylinders from the opening serve. Eight kills apiece paced Arkansas in the two-point win. Arkansas trailed at several points in the first game battling back from as many as four points before edging Tennessee down the stretch. Back-to-back kills from Dorrell shut the door, 32-30.

Just as the match was back-and-forth, so too was game two with neither team really grabbing and maintaining the momentum. The frame was tied late at 27-all but three consecutive Arkansas hitting errors handed Tennessee the three-point win.

The Lady’Backs hit just .200 in the third frame but limited Tennessee to a .163 mark and reduced the unforced errors at critical times in the ball game. The rallies continued with 18 tie scores and eight lead changes with the last tie coming at the 25-point mark. Arkansas was able to out-score Tennessee 5-2 down the stretch for the win.

Arkansas’ Jekyll and Hyde performance continued into the fourth game when Tennessee blasted out of the gates opening a big lead early. The Lady’Backs never recovered trailing by as many as 10 points in the fourth frame loss.

Jekyll returned in the final game as it was Arkansas’ turn to dominate the game. The Lady’Backs took an 11-5 lead behind some of the strongest blocking performances of the match. The Lady’Backs shut down the Tennessee offense holding the Lady Vols to a negative hitting percentage while hit a solid .250 in the last game. Arkansas needed just four kills in the last game to win.

The Lady Razorbacks return to SEC action hosting Georgia Friday at 7:00 p.m., in Barnhill Arena. It is the first of four consecutive home matches for Arkansas.

“We’re certainly glad to get back home,” said Poole. “We want to take some of the confidence we got today and build on it. I hope this is a turning point for this young team. I’m very proud of the efforts today.”

For more information about Arkansas volleyball, log on to LADYBACKS.COM.

Sports Category : Volleyball (W)