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Koleva’s career night can’t lift Lady’Backs

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Koleva’s career night can’t lift Lady’Backs

Jump to Kansas State box FAYETTEVILLE —Junior Denitza Koleva tallied a career-best 27 kills and hit .442 but the University of Arkansas couldn’t overcome Kansas State falling in five at the C&C Services Invitational. Arkansas (3-1) dropped the five-game thriller 22-30, 30-27, 26-30, 30-28, 15-13, to the Wildcats (5-0) who are receiving votes in the national poll. “This is one of those matches that, when it’s over, you look back and say it could have gone either way,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. Koleva’s career night included 27 kills, a .442 hitting percentage, seven digs and three block assists but she was not alone. Junior Amy Allison added 12 kills, hit .524 and had 10 blocks while senior Karla Crose tallied 11 kills and had eight blocks. Sophomore Jessica Dorrell added a season-best 14 kills and hit .464 and had six blocks as the Lady’Backs hit .368 as a team. The deciding game could have gone either way despite an early K-State lead, 63, that prompted Poole to use the first of two timeouts. Arkansas scored out of the break after a Wildcat service error and added point with a touch kill from Dorrell. Crose tallied her first kill of the fifth frame to even things at seven but Kansas State notched a kill to take an 8-7 lead as the teams changed benches. The game saw two more ties but the Wildcats would take a 13-12 lead when they got a quick kill at the net. An Arkansas net violation swung the momentum firmly to the K-State side of the net. Dorrell added to her kill total with a soft shot but the Wildcats put it away on the next play. Arkansas dominated the first game opening 12-4 lead hitting .714 with five kills and no errors forcing the Wildcats to burn a timeout early in the frame. K-State battled back closing within three points but the Wildcats could never recover from the early Arkansas lead as the Lady Razorbacks maintained the momentum throughout the stanza. Arkansas finished game one hitting .500 with four players, Koleva, Amy Allison, Dorrell and Christina Lawrence all hitting above .500. The second game was more balanced but Arkansas trailed from the first serve. The Lady’Backs never let the Wildcats out of their sights tying things at 13, again at 15 and finally at 22. Arkansas, however, was never able to take control of the game. Behind, 27-26, a K-State kill followed by an odd dig-to-kill gave the visitors a two-point lead. They finished game two with a kill on a broken play to win the second frame. With the teams knotted at one game apiece, Arkansas broke from the locker room on fire running off five quick points as the Wildcats spent another early timeout trying to find their defense. It wouldn’t be long until the teams settled into the grind of the third game exchanging points in a sea-saw battle with the Wildcats clinging to a one-point lead much of the way. Koleva finally laced a kill through the defense tying the frame at 23 and firing up the Arkansas-friendly crowd of 640 fans. Kansas State responded with a hitting error giving Arkansas the lead, a lead they would add to with a Brewer kill and a back row rocket from Koleva as the Lady’Backs went up by four. K-State scored two quick points as Poole burned a timeout and the stoppage of play was enough to quiet the opponent attack. The Lady’Backs outhit Kansas State .370 to .149 behind eight kills from Koleva and five from Brewer in the frame. The fourth game was another side-out battle that came down to the final points before the Wildcats squeaked out the win. The game was tied at 26 when the Wildcats got one of their eight blocks to take the lead for good. In the first match, Kansas State escaped with a five-set win over Utah State, downing the Aggies 30-28, 24-30, 31-29, 28-30, 15-8. The C&C Services Invitational continues with the final match Saturday at 11:00 a.m., when Arkansas hosts Utah State. For more information about Arkansas volleyball, log on to LADYBACKS.COM.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)