DALLAS, Texas – For the third time this season, the University of Arkansas volleyball team notched a five-set victory with Saturday’s 3-2 triumph over SMU in the team’s non-conference finale. With the win, the Razorbacks improve to 10-2 on the season and 3-1 in five-set matches. Rachel Rippee and Pilar Victoria each registered double-double efforts and the defense was buoyed by 21 digs by Okiana Valle and a career-high nine total blocks by Kelly O’Brien.
Having been away from their home court for the past two weekends, the Razorbacks return to Barnhill Arena to open SEC play Wed., Sept. 20 against Tennessee. First serve of the midweek league opener is scheduled for 8 p.m. As part of Band Appreciation Night, the Razorback Drumline is scheduled to perform.
Arkansas 3, SMU 2 | Box Score
Attendance: 593 | Time: 2:22
Moody Coliseum (Dallas, Texas)
- Leaders at SMU
- Kills: Pilar Victoria – 31 (third 30-kill performance of the season)
- Digs: Okiana Valle – 21 (second 20-dig performance of the season)
- Blocks: Kelly O’Brien – 9.0 (0-9)
- Rachel Rippee – 59 assists, 14 digs
- Pilar Victoria – 31 kills, 10 digs
For their respective efforts during the weekend, Victoria, Valle and Elizabeth Pamphile were named to the SMU Doubletree Classic All-Tournament Team. In earning MVP honors, Victoria averaged 5.75 kills per set behind a .382 hitting percentage and capped the weekend with 31 kills in Saturday’s win over SMU. Valle picked up Best Libero accolades with the help of 4.25 digs per set. Pamphile posted a .414 hitting percentage in two matches and had nine kills against the Mustangs.
Victoria has now had three 30-kill performances this season, which pushes her career total to a program-best six. With her 22nd kill of the match, the Caguas, Puerto Rico, native recorded her 800th kill in Cardinal and White. She finished Saturday’s match with a .355 hitting percentage and has tallied a .350 or better mark in nine of 12 matches this season. Victoria added 10 digs to complete her seventh double-double of the year.
From the setter position, Rippee set the Razorbacks to a .261 hitting percentage against SMU with a career-high 59 assists, the most by an Arkansas setter since Adrien Wohlschlaeger—who was in the stands—had 65 against LSU in 2015. Rippee has four matches with 50 or more assists this season. She also picked up 14 digs in a double-double outing.
In decisive fifth set, the Razorbacks won three of the first four points. The offense rose to the occasion with a .391 hitting percentage in the set. SMU (6-5) pulled to within one midway through the set but Hailey Dirrigl put down her third kill of the set for an 8-6 lead. Back-to-back kills by Pamphile gave Arkansas a 10-7 lead but SMU surged ahead at 11-10. Pamphile tied the set at 11-all and Victoria produced the team’s final four kills to secure the victory.
Having to win the fourth set to extend the match, the Razorbacks jumped out to a 7-2 lead and forced an early timeout from their opponent. Rippee served up her second ace of the match for a 15-8 lead before the Mustangs put together a run that ended up tying the score at 19-all. Arkansas retaliated with a four-point surge for a 23-19 lead and on the team’s third set point, SMU sent a serve into the net to send the match to five.
The Razorbacks won the first set, using an early run of points to create distance on the scoreboard. The lead was as high as nine points when Pamphile and Rippee combined for a block to give Arkansas set point at 24-15. On the third chance to close out the opener, Reagan Robinson clinched the 1-0 match lead. The sophomore outside hitter tied her career high with 12 kills. SMU erased a 20-15 deficit in the second set to tie the match and took the 2-1 match lead after taking the third.
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