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Koleva Cole key Arkansas comeback

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Koleva Cole key Arkansas comeback

JumpSacramento State box score FAYETTEVILLE – Big defense from Kelli Cole and a solid match-long performance from Denitza Koleva lifted the University of Arkansas volleyball team to a win over Sacramento State in the first match of the Arkansas Invitational in Barnhill Arena Thursday. The Lady Razorbacks improved to 4-0 escaping with a 30-18, 21-30, 30-25, 33-31 win over the Hornets who fell to 3-2 on the year. “I’m proud of the win,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “I’m disappointed with the let down but we kept preaching to them on the bench one point at a time and I thought they did a great job maintaining their focus.” Koleva dominated the first game with eight kills and a .571 hitting percentage. She added four digs and nearly matched Sacramento State’s total team kills. The Hornets had 11 in the game. Arkansas was shutout on the block with Sac State posting three blanking the Lady’Backs in one of their strongest categories. She finished the nine with a match and season-best 19 kills and hit .306 with 12 digs – her fourth double-double. The tide quickly turned in the second frame and Arkansas seemed out of sync from the first serve. Arkansas gave the Hornets the first point on a blocking error – it was their first lead of the night. But Arkansas’ unforced errors didn’t stop there. The Lady’Backs more than doubled their first game hitting errors and still couldn’t get the block going. In addition, five service errors gave the Hornets easy points. The Lady’Backs trailed from the first serve and were never really able to recover despite closing the gap to tie the game at seven. Sac State out-hit the home team .326-.128 in game two. Sacramento State carried that momentum into the third game taking the lead early. Poole burned a timeout trailing 20-17, but Arkansas just couldn’t seem to get over the hump after the break. The Hornets held on to the lead with fingertips until senior Kele Brewer laced a shot down the left sideline tying the third frame at 23. She followed up with a roll shot giving Arkansas it’s first lead in the game and forcing a Sacramento State timeout. Arkansas raced out of timeout and continued the rally sailing to the five-point win. But the momentum pendulum swung back the other direction as the fourth game started. Sac State rallied behind a balanced offense that saw four players end the night in double-digit kills. They jumped out by eight, 16-8, over Arkansas and Poole took his final timeout trying to slow the Hornet offense. It looked as those his efforts would be in vain as the margin quickly grew to 10 before Arkansas rallied. Koleva started the run followed by a tip from junior Jessica Dorrell. Koleva added a service aces and got a block assist from senior Amy Allison and sophomore Christina Lawrence as the crowd of 583 got to its feet. Dorrell than smashed an overpass and the Hornets took a timeout trying to settle themselves and Arkansas down. The break didn’t work as Koleva got another ace followed by a ball handling error on Sac State as Arkansas went on a 19-9 run tying the game at 29. Junior Cole entered the game with Arkansas trailing 27-24 and recorded a pair of huge digs keeping the Arkansas rally alive. Her spark off the bench was key in the Lady’Back turn-around. “I just wanted to get in a do my job,” Cole said. “I just knew we had to do it. The team does so much every day and I really wanted to do my part.” “Kelli made some great digs,” said Poole. “She was the difference for us in that game.” With the game tied at 29, the sea-saw battle began but Arkansas never seemed to surrender the momentum finally putting the game in the books with a deep push to the baseline from Dorrell. Dorrell finished the match with 13 kills and career-best 18 digs. Brewer added 12 kils and six digs while Allison tallied 11 kills a team-leading six blocks. The Arkansas Invitational continues Friday at noon when Sacramento State takes on Stephen F. Austin. The Hornets play Southeast Missouri State at 5:00 p.m., followed by Arkansas and Stephen F. Austin at 7:00 p.m. For more information about Arkansas volleyball log on to LADYBACKS.COM.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)