FAYETTEVILLE — Southeastern Conference volleyball action continues this weekend in Barnhill Arena as the University of Arkansas hosts Alabama Friday at 7:00 p.m.
The Lady Razorbacks are in the midst of a rebuilding year and the young team has taken some lumps but Arkansas has had some bright spots as well including a big win over No. 5 Florida and the play of freshman Sarah Freudenrich.
This weekend, Arkansas hosts SEC Western Division leader Alabama and Mississippi State, both of whom defeated the Lady Razorbacks on the road earlier this year.
"These are both very good teams," said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. "We need to be very consistent and limit our unforced errors. The block has been good for us lately but we’re still not putting the ball down like I think we can."
Poole mentioned the success of the block and that element of the game has seen steady improvement as the freshman Freudenrich continues to improve. This week the Broken Arrow, Okla., native finds herself ranked 19th in the nation and first in the SEC in blocks per game with a 1.51 average.
"Sarah is gaining confidence every week," said Poole. "She looked like a deer in the headlights early in the year but has made really good improvement as the season has gone on. She is becoming more of an offensive weapon for us with each match."
Arkansas will have its hands full with a very talented pair of teams this weekend. Alabama downed Mississippi State in four games Wednesday leap-frogging LSU into the top spot in the division. The Crimson Tide returned more talent this year than nearly anyone else in the league and are playing well down the stretch.
"It’s always nice to play at home," said Poole. "We have two winnable matches but both teams are very good this year. We have to win at home in order to be competitive in the SEC."
The SEC schedule is winding down with just eight regular season matches remaining. Arkansas follows up this home stand with back-to-back road weekends first traveling to South Carolina and No. 10 Florida, then making the trip to Auburn and Georgia. The Lady’Backs wrap up the league schedule hosting Tennessee and Kentucky, Nov. 16 and 18, respectively.
For more information about Arkansas volleyball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.