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Lady’Backs host Mississippi as SEC action continues

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Lady’Backs host Mississippi as SEC action continues

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas volleyball team is looking to return to the win column hosting a pair of Southeastern Conference foes in Barnhill Arena Friday and Sunday. Arkansas, 11-7 overall and 4-2 in the SEC, is in a four-way tie with Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky but is hoping to make a move hosting Mississippi (1-5 SEC) and Mississippi State (1-4) this weekend. The Lady’Backs, however, have had a string of bad luck dropping back-to-back matches at Kentucky and in non-conference action against St. Louis. "Well, we have to maintain our focus and continue to finish games," said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. "Both losses are very disappointing and we felt we struggled to get consistent play. We are hoping to have Denny (Koleva) back this weekend. She does so much for this team and it was evident that we were missing her on the court Tuesday night. She is our most aggressive player when it comes to attacking the ball both from the front row and back row, as well as being our best server this season." Arkansas opens weekend play with the Lady Rebels of Ole Miss Friday at 7:00 p.m.. The Rebels are 7-11 overall and knocked off Auburn for their lone conference win in their last outing. Mississippi had lost eight in a row prior to the win over the Tigers. The Lady’Backs face Mississippi State Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The Bulldogs are a much-improved team with several newcomers on the roster. They enter the weekend with a 10-5 overall record with four of their five losses coming in conference play and have dropped five of their last six matches. "Ole Miss and MSU are both very good ball control teams and play good defense," said Poole. "The key to winning will be for us to handle their serves. When our passing breaks down, we really struggle as a team. MSU has added a few international kids, which has improved their on-court experience as a team. At this point, every match is important for us." The Lady Razorbacks have hit the mid-point of the conference season and their 4-2 lead record has them tied for the top spot in the Western Division with Alabama. LSU is third at 3-3 followed by State (1-4), Auburn (1-5) and Mississippi (1-5). "We have a lot of talent on this team, but we are still struggling with having enough players that really step up to the challenge when the game is on the line," said Poole. "We are still making a lot of unforced errors and many of those are coming after we reach 24 points. We have to learn that it is more productive to ‘play to win’ instead of trying to ‘play not to lose’. If we can get each player to take a greater responsibility on being more aggressive, we can have a great finish this season." The Lady Razorbacks hit the road next weekend traveling to Florida and Georgia before a three match home stand with Alabama, Auburn and Oral Roberts as October winds down. For more information about Arkansas volleyball please call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)