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Five-set loss to Texas A&M at Barnhill

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Five-set loss to Texas A&M at Barnhill
FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas volleyball team dropped a five-set decision to Texas A&M (21-25, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 15-3) Friday evening in front of 942 fans at Barnhill Arena. In the loss, the Razorbacks had double-digit kill performances from Jasmine Norton, Amanda Anderson and Roslandy Acosta, but were held to a .087 hitting percentage as a team. “Texas A&M is a good team and a proven winner,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “Tonight, we were inconsistent. When you’re inconsistent this happens. (Texas A&M) played hard all match, whether they were in front or behind. We played hard sometimes. When you play a very good team, you can’t be average.” With her 12th kill of the match, Norton moved into sole possession of second place on the program’s all-time list. She moved past Denitza Koleva (2003-06) who finished her Razorback career with 1,595 kills. Norton began the year in sixth place on the career list. With her performance Friday night against the Aggies, Norton currently has 1,601 career kills. The program record of 2,185 kills belongs to Krystal Osborne (1994-97). In the fifth and decisive set, Texas A&M (15-2, 7-1 SEC) scored the first five points of the game before Anderson registered a kill to break the Aggies’ run. However, the visitor remained in control and led 9-2 to force an Arkansas (14-5, 5-3 SEC) timeout. Texas A&M took advantage of eight Razorback attack errors in the final set to close out the match with a 15-3 game score. “Tonight was a very tough loss,” Anderson said. “It was our first time ever playing (Texas A&M) and to play like that is obviously not what we wanted. It just proves that we have to keep working hard. If we want any respect, we’re going to have to work hard and finish games.” After trading points to start the match, Arkansas broke a 5-all tie with three straight points to take the lead for good in the opening set. Liz Fortado found the floor with her fourth kill of the night to give the Razorbacks a 13-8 lead and force a Texas A&M timeout. The home team’s lead reached seven–18-11–after an Ashley Vazquez service ace. The visitors responded with a late charge and pulled to within two but Arkansas scored three of the final four points to clinch game one, 25-21. The Aggies controlled play in the second and third sets, jumping out to early leads in both games to seize momentum. In game two, Arkansas trailed by as many as 10 but clawed back to within four on two occasions. However, Texas A&M responded each time and took the sets to put the Razorbacks one game from a loss. Arkansas reversed its fortunes in the fourth set, building a 13-8 lead after consecutive attack errors by the Aggies. Later in the set, Norton extended the team’s lead to 19-12 with an overpass kill to force an A&M timeout. Like they did in the first set, the Aggies fought back and pulled to within one–23-22–before Norton had a kill on Arkansas’ second set point. “We just didn’t play together as a team,” libero Emily Helm said. “It was up and down and nobody was playing for each other. That’s not what we’re about. We’re a team and we thrive on our chemistry, but tonight we just didn’t bring it.” Arkansas returns to the court Sunday afternoon for its weekend finale against Tennessee. First serve of the match is scheduled for 1 p.m. (CT) at Barnhill Arena. Earlier this season, the Razorbacks beat Tennessee in four sets in Knoxville. For more information regarding Razorback volleyball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.

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Sports Category : Volleyball (W)