FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas volleyball team continues its home stand Friday evening with a Southeastern Conference match against Ole Miss. First serve of the Western Division matchup is scheduled for a 7 p.m. (CT) first serve at Barnhill Arena. The Razorbacks enter the weekend with a 12-8 overall record and a 4-5 tally in SEC play.
Friday’s match also marks the beginning of the second go-round of conference play. Earlier this season, Arkansas and Ole Miss played a five-set match in Oxford that ended in favor of the Rebels. Despite the loss, the Razorbacks still hold a 24-11 advantage in the all-time series between the two teams. Arkansas has won 13 of 17 matches played in Fayetteville against Ole Miss.
"Playing each SEC team twice is a good challenge," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "On one hand, you know your opponent better. But on the other, your opponent knows you better. The second time through the conference schedule is about learning from the first match and making adjustments."
Through the first 20 matches of the season, Arkansas’ offense is paced by senior Kelli Stipanovich and junior Jasmine Norton. Stipanovich leads the team and is seventh in the SEC with 3.44 kills per set while Norton adds 3.12 kills per set. Norton is the reigning SEC Player of the Week after a pair of double-doubles last weekend, including a 22-kill effort against Georgia. Sophomore setter Raymariely Santos is sixth in the conference with 9.73 assists per set.
Defensively, junior Kasey Heckelman leads the teams with 1.03 blocks per set. In her last four matches, she is averaging 1.53 blocks per set with the help of a nine-block performance last Sunday against Georgia. As a team, the Razorbacks are second in the SEC with 2.45 blocks per set. On the season, Arkansas is third in the SEC with 1.37 service aces per set and fourth in the conference by holding opponents to a .179 hitting percentage.
The Arkansas-Ole Miss match will also serve as the Razorbacks’ 2nd Annual Dig for the Cure event, benefitting the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. The Dig for the Cure event is part of the Razorbacks’ Red + White = Pink initiative. In association with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Razorbacks will be holding five designated pink events throughout the season.
The official Red + White = Pink t-shirt serves as a ticket to the five athletic events in Fayetteville. Fans can use the t-shirt for admittance to Friday’s volleyball match against Ole Miss, the Oct. 28 soccer match versus LSU, the Feb. 5 gymnastics meet against Oklahoma, the Feb. 16 women’s basketball game against LSU and a softball game in the spring.
The Pink t-shirt is available now for $15 and a portion of the proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation-Ozark affiliate. The t-shirts are now available at Hog Heaven in Bud Walton Arena and Academy Sports + Outdoors in its Fort Smith and Rogers locations. Fans in attendance Friday can also pledge a dollar amount toward the Foundation.
Following their match against Ole Miss, the Razorbacks return to action Sunday afternoon to face Alabama at Barnhill Arena. First serve of the weekend finale is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. For match-day coverage including interactive blog, live results and an audio/video stream, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Students attending volleyball matches are asked to use the street-level entrance on Stadium Drive to enter Barnhill Arena.