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Lady’Backs upset in three at LSU

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Lady’Backs upset in three at LSU

Jump to LSU box score BATON ROUGE, La. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team suffered a three-game Southeastern Conference loss in volleyball action at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center stalling the Lady Razorbacks quest for an 11th Western Division title for at least another week. Arkansas fell to 19-9 overall and 11-4 in SEC action with the 30-23, 30-27, 30-27 loss while the Tigers improved to 20-6 overall and 10-5 in the conference – just one match behind Arkansas. LSU hosts Kentucky Friday followed by the Wildcats traveling to Arkansas in matches that have become must-wins for both teams. The Lady Razorbacks, historically one of the best blocking teams in the SEC, managed just four team blocks and were out-blocked by the Tigers who had eight in the match. That was just the sixth time all season Arkansas has been out-blocked. “Four blocks…that’s the story,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “We never did get going. The block didn’t give us any help at all. I think we had 20 blocks in four games against them at home but tonight, we couldn’t generate anything with the block. We never got into a rhythm and couldn’t get our offense going.” LSU dominated play in game one with multiple runs of three, four and five points as the Lady’Backs fell into an early hole they could not overcome. Arkansas managed a 5-0 run late in the frame and held off four game points but the deficit was too great to rally from. “I feel like I’ve said this after nearly every match but we didn’t play well from the first serve,” said Poole. “We allowed LSU a big lead and had to chase them. They are a very good team who hasn’t lost a game on their home court. You just can’t do that against good teams on the road.” Arkansas’ slow play was evident in the game one stats with the Lady’Backs hitt just .057 with only one block while LSU hit .333 with five blocks in the game. The Tigers continued to control the pace in the second game, slowing the tempo and methodically putting up points despite Arkansas’ change in the rotation of the starting lineup. The teams exchanged scores for the first third of the contest when Poole took his first timeout. The Lady’Backs responded with a four-point run opening a 12-7 lead behind Christina Lawrence who had a pair of quick kills and played solid defense. LSU crept back into the game, again chipping away point-by-point in the slow-paced play that defined game one. The teams settled into a routine trading points as neither was able to get any separation. LSU burned a timeout with the teams tied at 26 and the Tigers scored first out of the break on a kill from Jelena Mijatovic. Arkansas answered with a kill down the line from Kele Brewer and the score was again knotted. As had been the pattern all match, LSU scored next with a kill from Kyna Washington and then got a block going up by a pair. An Arkansas timeout couldn’t stop the Tigers as they finished with a block for the second-game victory. Statistically, Arkansas’ flatness was again evident in the box score with the Lady’Backs hitting .186 with 15 kills and seven hitting errors. LSU had more than doubled the Lady’Backs on the block with eight to Arkansas’ three though the first two games. Trailing by two games after the break, Arkansas had, once before in the 2005 season, come back from that situation but the rally was on a neutral court against Utah the third week of the season. But that was not the case Wednesday as the Lady’Backs couldn’t rattle a steady Tiger attack. The final frame was nip-and-tuck from the first serve until the mid-point of the game when LSU pulled away. The big point differential seemed insurmountable to the Lady’Backs who were struggling offensively but Arkansas made a late run scaring the Tigers. Arkansas trailed LSU 29-21 with match point on the line and ran off six unanswered points as LSU called a timeout and used a couple of substitutions to try and slow the Lady’Back attack. The Tigers finally got a kill off the attempted block of Arkansas to win the match. Arkansas hit just .188 as a team with Lawrence leading the Lady’Backs with 11 kills and a .381 hitting percentage. Junior Denitza Koleva added 10 kills but hit just .057 in the loss. Juniors Amy Allison and Kele Brewer added six kills each. “You have to give LSU credit,” said Poole. “They played great and did anything they wanted against us. It’s not often that Karla (Crose), Christina and Jessica (Dorrell) all three don’t have a block.” “This just makes Kentucky a do-or-die match,” Poole continued. “It becomes the biggest match of the season and will impact the Western Division, SEC Tournament seeding and even the NCAA Tournament.” Arkansas concludes the SEC regular season Sunday hosting Kentucky in the final home match of the year. Arkansas travels to the eight-team SEC Tournament hosted by Alabama Nov. 18-20, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. For more information about Arkansas volleyball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)