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Koleva earns MVP honors as Arkansas wins Oklahoma Invitational

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Koleva earns MVP honors as Arkansas wins Oklahoma Invitational

Jump to North Carolina box score NORMAN, Okla. – Senior Denitza Koleva earned tournament MVP honors leading Arkansas to the title at the Oklahoma Invitational with a victory over North Carolina Saturday. Arkansas, 3-0 to start the year, notched the 30-20, 30-27, 30-24 win over the Tar Heels as Koleva posted her third consecutive double-double with 13 kills and 14 digs. Koleva had 14 kills and 11 digs against Idaho and 14 kills and 16 digs against Oklahoma. She also tallied six blocks for Arkansas. “We’ve been making adjustments all weekend,’ said head coach Chris Poole, “and I’m pleased with how we continue to improve with each match. The players we needed to step up big did today. Christina (Lawrence) and Kele (Brewer) really played well. Christina hasn’t even gone through a complete practice and hit .500 today.” Junior Ashley Miller also enjoyed a great match recording 25 digs – one off the three-game school record that she holds. Junior Jessica Dorrell finished with 13 kills and hit .367 and she, along with Miller, were named to the all-tournament team. Lawrence finished the day with 11 kills while Brewer added 11 for Arkansas. Game one was the Kele Brewer show as the Castroville, Texas, native paced Arkansas with six kills, 10 attempts and hit .500 for the frame. Arkansas’ block was also critical in establishing the tempo as the Lady’Backs tallied five team blocks behind three from redshirt freshman Destiny Clark and four from Koleva. Clark finished the day with four block assists in the win. The opening stanza was a back-and-forth battle early until Arkansas opened a lead as the first third closed. Arkansas was up, 11-10, and outscored the Tar Heels 9-3 to lead 20-13, forcing UNC to call its first timeout. Arkansas sailed to the 10-point win hitting .316 to UNC’s .122 mark. The Lady’Backs, who have been plagued by early-season injuries, were able to play nearly everyone in the first game and rested several players late in the frame. Arkansas looked out of rhythm to start the second game and North Carolina grabbed the lead from the opening serve. The Sooners held the lead until Dorrell hammered an overpass off the head of one of the Tar Heel blockers tying the frame at 21. Senior Amy Allison followed up winning a joust at the net and Arkansas never surrendered the lead. The Lady’Backs managed just two blocks in the game and their hitting cooled from .316 in the first game to .208. But Lawrence was firing on all cylinders with five kills to pace the frame victory. Arkansas scratched out the lead early in the third frame, thanks to a North Carolina hitting error that gave the Lady’Backs a 3-2 advantage. The Lady’Backs would never trail the Tar Heels in the game stretching the lead to as many as eight before finishing out the win. Arkansas hit a mach-best .340 in the last game finishing with a .287 mark on the day.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)