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Lady’Backs drop SEC opener

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Lady’Backs drop SEC opener

Jump to Tennessee box score FAYETTEVILLE – Double-digit kill performances from Denitza Koleva and Jessica Dorrell were not enough to lift the University of Arkansas volleyball team over Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference opener in Barnhill Arena Friday. The second match of a double-header, Arkansas (7-5, 0-1 SEC) fell 27-30, 24-30, 26-30, to a legitimate top 25 Tennessee (7-3, 1-0 SEC) team. LSU (11-1, 1-0 SEC) escaped with a five-game win over South Carolina (7-4, 0-1 SEC) in the first match. “That was probably our worst match of the year,” said a disappointed Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “It’s disappointing to open conference play that way but I know we’re a better team and we’ll rebound. This makes Sunday’s match very important. We don’t want to start SEC play 0-2 and then have to go on the road next weekend. We’re going to have to find a way to elevate our game as the season continues.” Koleva tallied a season-best 18 kills while Dorrell added 13 and hit .360 for Arkansas in the loss. As a team, the Lady’Backs hit just .181 compared to Tennessee’s .348 and was out-done in every statistical category. The third game of the match was the most hotly contested with a sea-saw battle from the opening serve. The game featured 16 ties and nine lead changes with neither team able to hold on to the lead. Arkansas edged ahead, 24-23, as Tennessee took a timeout to catch their breath. They came out of the break and worked ahead, 26-25, and Poole burned his final timeout. The Lady’Backs got one more kill from Dorrell but a 3-1 mini-run sealed Arkansas’ fate in the match. Arkansas struggled offensively despite posting a solid hitting percentage to open the first game. The first frame saw the Lady’Backs get down early trailing by as many as six but the home team battled back and made a game of it. Tennessee carried a two-point lead into Arkansas’ final timeout and the Lady’Backs just couldn’t overcome the deficit, falling 30-27. The second game was the closest score-wise but Tennessee controlled the tempo out-hitting the Lady’Backs .405 to .078 in the period. Ten hitting errors proved to be the downfall for Arkansas in the game as the Lady Vols opened a big lead early and just hung on. Arkansas returns to SEC action hosting South Carolina at 1:30 p.m., Sunday. LSU hosts Tennessee in the opener at 10:30 a.m. For more information and tickets call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)