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Lady’Backs looking for wins in the Lone Star State

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Lady’Backs looking for wins in the Lone Star State

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas volleyball team is looking for a pair of wins this weekend traveling to the Fort Worth Plaza Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas. Arkansas enters the week with a 16-14 overall record and is looking for wins over host Texas Christian and Southern Methodist to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive. "I would consider us a bubble team," said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole, "and we need the wins to help our cause. We’ve played a tough schedule both non-conference and in the SEC and I hope the selection committee will take a look at us." Arkansas won’t have an easy go in Fort Worth, however, as the Lady’Backs look to improve on their record. Arkansas opens with host Texas Christian on Friday at 7:00 p.m. The Horned Frogs are 21-9 overall after losing in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament last week. Despite the difference in record, Arkansas and TCU do have a couple of things in common. The Lady’Backs and Horned Frogs have three common opponents and they share the same record against those foes. Both team lost to nationally-ranked Illinois and Santa Clara and both defeated Houston this season. The tournament continues with Southern Methodist in a 4:00 p.m., match Saturday. SMU is even at 13-13 overall after suffering a three-game setback against No. 2 Hawai’i in the first round of the Western Athletic Conference. "Both of these teams are quality opponents," said Poole. "They each have one or two players who shoulder most of the load but they are also both balanced with other players who can step up in a match. We’re going to have to control the tempo and limit our mistakes this weekend." Lone senior Jennifer Haaser is in the home stretch of her final season. The three-time all-SEC selection leads Arkansas offensively and in blocking this year but Haaser is not Arkansas’ only weapon. Sophomores Kele Brewer and Denitza Koleva along with freshman Jessica Dorrell are also offensive threats for Arkansas. Brewer earned SEC all-Tournament Team honors last week while Dorrell was selected to the SEC all-Freshman Team. The Lady’Backs also rely on freshman Ashley Miller for her floor presence. Miller also earned recognition by the SEC and was named to the all-freshman team as one of the top liberos in the league. In addition to the all-important matches this weekend, Arkansas also sees a few players go home. Dorrell is from Aledo, Texas; Brewer is from Castroville, Texas and freshman setter Amanda Eskridge hails from Rowlett, Texas. Arkansas returns to Fayetteville late Saturday night and will await word of a possible NCAA Tournament selection via a selection show Sunday afternoon. For more information about Arkansas volleyball log on to www.ladybacks.com.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)