LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team dropped a straight-set decision to No. 15 Kentucky in its season finale Saturday evening in Lexington. Playing in her final collegiate match, senior Meredith Hays notched her 13th double-double of the season with a match-high 21 kills and 10 digs. With the result, the Razorbacks finished the season with a 15-16 overall record and 9-9 mark in SEC play.
Saturday marked the 10th 20-kill performance of the season for Hays and her first since Oct. 15 at No. 20 Texas A&M. In total, she finishes her senior season with 521 kills which will enter the Arkansas record book as the eighth-largest figure in a single season. Hays posted double-digit kills in 29 of 31 matches this season. The double-double effort is the 22nd of her Razorback career.
Fellow All-SEC performer Chanell Clark-Bibbs was second on the team with seven kills while Liz Fortado added five kills from the right side. Defensively, freshman libero Kori Ortiz paced the Razorbacks with 14 digs while Holly Hankenson had eight digs of her own.
After dropping the opening set, the Razorbacks won the first point of the second but went back and forth with Kentucky until the score was tied at 7-7. Momentum switched when the home Wildcats turned a one-point advantage into an 18-11 lead on the scoreboard. Arkansas pulled to within three on a kill by Clark-Bibbs but Kentucky (26-5, 15-3 SEC) won five of the final six points of the set to take a 2-0 lead at intermission.
The teams played to a 13-13 tie to begin the third before the Wildcats surged ahead to take an 18-14 lead. As it had done in previous sets, Arkansas fought back to close to within two points at 20-18 on a kill by Hays. However, Kentucky closed the set and clinched the match by winning five of the final seven points. In an offensive outburst, Hays had 12 of her 21 kills in the third set.
#15 Kentucky 3, Arkansas 0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-20)
Time: 1:26 | Attendance: 2,243
Lexington, Ky. | Memorial Coliseum
• Stat Leaders at #15 Kentucky
o Kills: 21 – Meredith Hays
o Digs: 14 – Kori Ortiz
o Blocks: 2 – Ana Sofia Jusino
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