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Lady’Backs continue SEC schedule

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Lady’Backs continue SEC schedule

ATHENS, Ga. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team resumes Southeastern Conference action traveling to Georgia Friday for a 6:00 p.m. contest. Arkansas enters the match with a 7-8 overall mark and a 5-1 SEC record holding on to the top spot in the Western Division. The Bulldogs check in with a 10-5 overall record and are an even 3-3 in the league. Georgia ranks third in the Eastern Division and tied for fourth overall. “This is a big match for us,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “Every match is big at this point in the season. We have just 15 regular-season matches remaining and if we want to make a push in the SEC and even for a possible NCAA Tournament birth, we have to win some on the road.” Arkansas’ 7-8 overall record reflects the tough non-conference schedule the Lady’Backs faced to open the year with nine of the first 10 opponents mentioned in the preseason poll. The Lady’Backs parlayed that early-season experience into a five match winning streak in conference play. The Friday night match-up is the second of the season between the two teams with Arkansas coming out a three-set winner in the first meeting. “Georgia played us tough at home in the first meeting,” said Poole, “and we know we’re going to have to play even better in Athens then we did in Barnhill.” Since the first meeting the Lady’Backs have stepped up their defense improving both blocking and digging statistics. Also improving is the team’s overall hitting percentage. While still off the 10-year average, Arkansas’ .195 hitting percentage in conference play is a marked improvement over the overall hitting percentage of .170 in all matches. “Our hitting percentage certainly isn’t where we’d like it to be,” acknowledged Poole, “but it is moving in the right direction and we are finding ways to win games despite poor hitting. If we could find a consistent offensive attack, this team’s record would be dramatically different and we’d be in the top 25.” Sophomore Amy Allison leads the team with a .300 hitting percentage while senior Jennifer Haaser is first on the team with a 65 kills in conference games. Sophomore Denitza Koleva is second with 60 kills. Defensively, the Lady’Backs are lead the conference averaging 3.52 blocks per game. Junior Karla Crose leads the team and the SEC with a 1.88 average followed by 1.25 average for Haaser. Georgia is out-hitting Arkansas with a .254 overall percentage and the digs are even between both teams with 863 for each. “Once the first serve is in play the stats don’t matter and the history isn’t important,” said Poole. “We have to have solid play both offensively and defensively and limit our mistakes. That puts us in the best possible position to win the match.” The Georgia match is the first of a pair of Eastern Division contests this weekend as the Lady’Backs travel to No. 10 Florida Sunday for a noon match. Both matches are live in the Fayetteville area on KXUA, 88.3 FM, and Sunshine Network will carry Sunday’s match live from Gainesville, Fla. Both matches can also be heard on the internet at www.ladybacks.com.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)