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Lady’Backs host Magnolia State this weekend

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Lady’Backs host Magnolia State this weekend

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas volleyball team returns to Southeastern Conference action this weekend hosting Mississippi and Mississippi State in Barnhill Arena. Arkansas 3-8 overall and 1-1 in the SEC opens play Friday at 7:00 p.m., with Mississippi. The Lady Rabels are a much-improved team from a year ago and enter the weekend with a 7-6 overall record. Mississippi is 0-2 in SEC play dropping their conference openers at South Carolina and Tennessee last weekend. The Lady’Backs face an also-improved Mississippi State Sunday at 1:30 p.m. State enters the weekend with an 8-6 overall mark and a 1-1 SEC start with a win over South Carolina. "We’re excited to be a home again this weekend," said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. "We’ve been able to get a lot of training done this week and we’re ready to play again. Mississippi and Mississippi State are the best they’ve been in years. Both teams will challenge us. This is an exciting year for the SEC. Every team in the league is ranked in the top 140 and three are in the top 10 in RPI. That’s a big improvement and demonstrates a real commitment to volleyball." The Lady Razorbacks are also playing better in recent matches as the offense begins to click. Arkansas’ blocking continues to be among the league’s best and is always strong for the Lady’Backs. Defensively, Arkansas has also been solid this year averaging 15.38 digs per game. Senior Jennifer Haaser is pacing the young offense for the Lady’Backs. The Fort Smith, Ark., native is averaging 3.19 kills per game and hitting .342. She also leads the team with 1.26 blocks per game this year. Arkansas has several other offensive threats including a pair of relative newcomers. Sophomore Amy Allison, who saw limited action last year, and freshman Jessica Dorrell have provided the offensive punch in several matches. Allison is averaging 2.21 kpg and hitting .204 while Dorrell averages 2.43 kpg as a freshman. Sophomore co-SEC Freshman of the Year Denitza Koleva is also beginning to connect. She ranks second on the team with 114 kills and a 2.71 kpg average. Sophomore all-SEC freshman Kele Brewer is back in the lineup as well. Brewer suffered a stress fracture prior to the season’s start but has recently returned to the court. The defense for the Lady’Backs has been a strength this year. Junior Karla Crose has 45 total blocks and is second on the team with a 1.05 bpg average. Allison has chipped in with a 1.10 bpg average and, along with Haaser, continue Arkansas’ blocking tradition. Freshman Ashley Miller has also had a big impact on Arkansas’ defense. The Vacaville, Calif., native leads the team with 142 digs and a 3.38 dip per game average. Arkansas has been mixing up the setting duties between junior Iva Docekalova and freshman Amanda Eskridge and freshmen Kelli Cole and Ashley Wiechman have seen playing time on the back row for Arkansas this year. "We’ve been lucky enough to be able to see everyone in a game-situation this year," said Poole. "We have a lot of different looks we can throw at people." Arkansas’ Magnolia State home stand ends the longest home stand of the season dating back to the C&C Services Invitational Sept. 17-18. Arkansas next travels to Auburn Oct. 8, and Alabama, Oct. 10, as SEC action continues. For more information and tickets please call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to www.ladybacks.com.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)