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Lady’Back volleyball wraps up regular season with road matches

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Lady’Back volleyball wraps up regular season with road matches

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas volleyball team wraps up the 2006 regular season with a pair of road matches to the Magnolia State this weekend. Arkansas enters the weekend with a 16-10 overall record and a 9-9 mark in Southeastern Conference play fighting for its post season life. The Lady Razorbacks open the weekend Friday at Mississippi (17-12, 8-10 SEC) followed by a Sunday match at Mississippi State (16-12, 7-11 SEC). "It’s amazing what a few weeks can do for a team," said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. "We have been playing much better in recent matches but we know we are facing two very important matches on the road and we’re going to have to play well." The SEC has seen a significant improvement top-to-bottom in the 11 member teams in 2006. Nine of the 11 teams have 15 or more wins this season and three of the teams have been nationally-ranked for much of the season. In addition only No. 7 Florida and No. 11 LSU have winning records on the road in conference play and the Lady Razorbacks face a stacked deck with both the Rebels and Bulldogs a solid 5-3 in home matches. In addition, the Lady’Backs are looking for redemption in the Mississippi match. The Rebels downed Arkansas in Fayetteville earlier this year, defeating Arkansas for the first time in 17 matches. "Ole Miss played a great match here and we didn’t," said Poole. "We had them on the ropes a couple of times in the match and let it slip away. I’m sure that will be on both teams’ minds Friday." Arkansas is also motivated by a possible NCAA Tournament bid if things go well this weekend. The Lady Razorbacks are hopeful that a winning record and the strength of the program’s schedule will get the team at at-large bid but Poole knows his team could use two more wins to help the selection process. "I feel like we’re in good shape, but more wins is always better," said Poole. "One of the many factors the committee considers is how well a team is playing in their last couple of weeks. Right now, we are 6-2 in our last eight matches. It would be even better if we could be 8-2, but we know we can’t overlook either of these teams this weekend. Both are playing very well right now." Arkansas has used several different lineups all season long and this weekend looks to be no exception. Freshman Catherine Fowler is seeing more playing time behind the senior leadership of Denitza Koleva, Amy Allison and Kele Brewer. Juniors Ashley Miller and Jessica Dorrell and sophomore Christina Lawrence also figure heavily into the offense. Redshirt freshman Destiny Clark has been solid as have setters sophomore Caria Daugherty and freshman Lindsay Scanlan. Look for Poole to continue to mix things up again this weekend. "We’re fortunate in that we have several options," said Poole. "Denny has been great all season and we’ve had several different players step up throughout the year." Arkansas returns home to a short holiday week of practice awaiting the NCAA selection show Sunday, Nov. 26. For more information about Arkansas volleyball log on to LADYBACKS.COM.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)