comscore script

Lady’Back volleyball looks to regroup at No. 13 Tennessee

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Lady’Back volleyball looks to regroup at No. 13 Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team is looking to regroup as they continue Southeastern Conference play at No. 13 Tennessee Sunday. Arkansas, 7-2 and 0-1 in the SEC, suffered a three-game loss at Kentucky Friday in a match in which the Lady Razorbacks never really established their game. The tough road test gets tougher at Tennessee whose 23-match home winning streak was snapped Friday with a five-game loss to No. 18 LSU. “This wouldn’t be an easy match under the best of circumstances,’ said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “But Tennessee is a little extra motivated after the loss. They have a great atmosphere and the crowd will be into it. We’re going to have to play well to be successful.” Arkansas struggled offensively against Kentucky hitting just better than four percent for the match – well off their season average. Statistically, Arkansas’ numbers are a bit low despite the seven wins this year. As a team the Lady’Backs are hitting just .212 ranking 10th in the SEC. The Lady’Backs are paced by a come-from-behind performance from Christina Lawrence in recent matches. Lawrence, a redshirt sophomore from Sullivan, Mo., was sidelined the second day of official practice with a knee surgery. She’s played in nearly every match this year but has had to battle to get herself back in game form. She leads Arkansas with a .269 hitting percentage. Redshirt freshman Destiny Clark is also among the offensive leaders hitting .268 as a middle blocker. Senior Denitza Koleva leads the team with 119 kills and a 3.40 kill per game average. She is hitting .220 this year. The Lady’Backs have long been known for a big block and that characteristic has helped Arkansas win matches this year. But the block numbers are a bit lower from this time a year ago. As a team, Arkansas is averaging 2.91 blocks per game and ranks third behind Tennessee (3.50) and Florida (3.30). On the plus side for Arkansas as they head into the match is that the Lady’Backs hold a 12-6 series advantage over Tennessee and have historically played well in Knoxville. In addition, the Lady’Backs have been tested against some quality pre-SEC opponents playing a schedule that is ranked 13th in one recent poll. “We have a lot of individual talent and athleticism,” said Poole. “The key is to get everyone playing at the same level on the same page. If we can do that, we’ll be tough to beat.” Sunday’s match between Arkansas and Tennessee is slated for a 12:30 p.m. central start and all the action can be heard live in the Northwest Arkansas area on KXUA, 88.3 FM and on the internet at LADYBACKS.COM.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)