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No. 10 Florida South Carolina up next

BY ANDRES FOCIL
No. 10 Florida South Carolina up next

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team opens its second pass through Southeastern Conference play with a pair of matches this weekend, at No. 10 Florida and South Carolina. The Razorbacks travel to Gainesville, Fla., for an Oct. 23 matchup against the Gators with a 6 p.m. (CT) start time. It will be televised regionally by Sun Sports. The weekend closes Oct. 25 with a 12:30 p.m. meeting with the Gamecocks in Columbia, S.C."Going into the second half of the SEC season, everybody knows everybody," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "Everyone can prepare better for the other teams, so you should see some close matches down the stretch. We’re in a situation now where we need to go 6-4 in our last 10 matches to make ourselves eligible for the NCAA Tournament, so that’s our focus."Arkansas (10-11, 4-6) has lost its last two matches, including a 3-0 setback at then-No. 24 LSU in its last outing. In the loss, Jasmine Norton led the Razorbacks with 16 kills, her sixth consecutive match with double-digit kills, and posted a .364 hitting percentage against the top-blocking team in conference play. Kelli Stipanovich added 10 kills against the Tigers.Norton leads the Razorbacks with 3.73 kills per set this season, the fourth-best mark in the SEC. In conference-only matches, however, the Rowlett, Texas, native has upped her production and is second in the league with 4.11 kills per set. Stipanovich is second on the team with 2.55 kills per set and Amanda Anderson follows with 2.47 kills per set out of the middle. Anderson is ninth in the SEC with a .320 hitting percentage."I think we’re in a better place with our offense than I thought we’d be," Pulliza said. "We’ve matured, offensively, at a quick rate. With our defense, I think we are where we need to be at times, but we’re not being consistent enough. We have the tools to do it, so that is where we have to step up down the stretch."Lindsay Scanlan lands at fourth in the conference with 9.88 assists per set, more than three assists higher than any other season of her Razorback career. In a backup role, Cassie Clarke tallied a career-high 21 assists in the Razorbacks’ Oct. 14 match against Ole Miss. Libero Phoebe Bautista is averaging 4.05 digs per set, good for sixth in the SEC. She has totaled at least 14 digs in six of Arkansas’ conference matches this season.The Razorbacks opened the 2009 SEC season with a 3-0 victory over South Carolina at Barnhill Arena. Norton and Anderson finished the match with 17 and 11 kills, respectively, and Arkansas tallied 77 digs, the most by an SEC team in a three-set conference match this season. The Razorbacks lead the all-time series, 15-9.In the first meeting this season between Arkansas and Florida, the Gators left Fayetteville with a straight-set victory behind 14 kills from Colleen Ward and 12 from Kristy Jaeckel. Norton and Stipanovich posted seven kills each in the loss. Florida leads the all-time series, 27-2.Florida (14-3, 8-2) defeated Georgia, 3-0, in its last match. On the season, the 10th-ranked Gators have three players averaging at least 3.08 kills per set-Ward (3.27), Jaeckel (3.11) and Kelly Murphy (3.08). Murphy also leads Florida with 6.26 assists per set in the Gators’ 6-2 offensive system. Florida is second in the SEC with a .286 team hitting percentage. The Gators average more than 2,800 fans for home matches.South Carolina (11-8, 3-7) dropped a four-set decision at Auburn in its last outing. Ivana Kujundzic leads the Gamecocks’ offensive charge with 4.17 kills per set, the second-best mark in the conference. Teammate Hannah Lawing is ninth with 3.12 kills per set. Led by libero Sarah Cline, South Carolina is the top digging team in the SEC with 16.79 pickups per set. Cline is second in the SEC with 4.73 digs per set.Though the Sun Sports network is affiliated with most cable carriers in the state of Florida, the channel may be picked up by various satellite providers across the country. Contact your satellite provider for availability of Friday’s match against the Gators. Both matches this weekend will have an audio broadcast on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)