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Lady’Backs host Kansas in opener

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Lady’Backs host Kansas in opener

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas volleyball team opens the 2004 season hosting Kansas Wednesday at 7:00 p.m., in Barnhill Arena. The Lady Razorbacks face one of their most challenging schedules in recent seasons but head coach Chris Poole is anxious to get off the ground. "We can’t wait to get started," Poole said. "We need a match under our belts to see how we stack up and to determine what needs the most work. It’s amazing when you have a young team like we do, how much the little things can throw you off." The Lady Razorbacks are coming off a 27-7 season that saw the team reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. Three all-Southeastern Conference selections return but a lot of question marks remain for the Lady’Backs. Lone senior Jennifer Haaser is one of the returning all-SEC players Poole will look to on the court. "I’m really excited about the schedule," said Haaser. "We’re ready to play and we always want to face strong teams to test ourselves before we begin SEC play." Haaser is joined by co-freshman of the year Denitza Koleva and Kele Brewer who was selected to the first-ever SEC all-freshman team. Also returning is junior Iva Docekalova. Docekalova takes over full-time at the setter position replacing all-SEC selection Roberta Tarnauskaite who graduated last year. Docekalova was a regular in the lineup as a defensive player and returns as one of the top servers in the league. Six newcomers, including two Arkansans, also vie for time in the lineup this year. "Getting our confidence up is going to be key in these early matches," said Poole. "We must see some success and it’s very important to establish ourselves early. There are no gimmies this year." The Lady’Back-Kansas series is just one match old dating back to last season when Arkansas dumped the Jayhawks in a thrilling five-game set in Lawrence, Kan. Kansas returns most of their team, a team that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. Arkansas won’t have much time to reflect on Wednesday’s match boarding a plane for California for Friday and Saturday matches. The Lady’Backs take on Univ. of Pacific Friday and No. 22 Santa Clara Saturday in non-conference action. For more information about Arkansas volleyball please call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to www.ladybacks.com.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)