GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Kelli Stipanovich notched a team-high nine kills and Jasmine Norton led the way with seven digs but the University of Arkansas volleyball team dropped a straight-set decision (25-19, 25-13, 25-17) to No. 2 Florida Sunday afternoon at the O’Connell Center.
In the middle, Janeliss Torres-Lopez added five kills and five total blocks. Arkansas (9-8, 3-3 SEC) out-blocked the Gators, 6.0-3.5, in the match. Norton had four kills to go along with her dig total. Raymariely Santos was strong at the service line with a career-high four aces Sunday.
"We saw some good individual performances today but our collective effort was poor," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "Against a team like Florida, if you don’t put it together, you’re not going to go far. I like where some of our athletes are at and where we’re going but we have to make sure we come out with the energy and collective effort every time."
Trailing by as many as 11 points in the first set, the Razorbacks made a late-game push to close their deficit. Started by a kill out of the middle by Torres-Lopez, Arkansas put together a 7-2 run to pull to within five points. The Razorbacks saved three set points with Torres-Lopez and Stipanovich each tallying a kill and combining for a block in the stretch. Florida (12-1, 5-0 SEC) eventually came away with the opener, 25-19, on a putaway by Kelly Murphy.
After a quick start by the Gators in game two, Arkansas rallied to get back into the flow of action. Kills by Norton and Stipanovich pulled the team to within two points. However, Florida ripped off 12 of the next 14 points and clinched the set on a Callie Rivers kill.
Charmaine Whitmore, in the lineup to start the third game, found the floor to narrow Florida’s lead to three early in the set. The Gators extended their game-three advantage to nine points but Arkansas used a few Florida service errors and kills by Stipanovich to stick close. However, on match point, Murphy put the ball away to send Florida to the win.
The Razorbacks return to their home court Oct. 8 for a televised match against No. 23 Tennessee. Cox Sports Television (CST) will carry the conference matchup. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CT) at Barnhill Arena. The match has also been designated as the 1st Annual Razorback Dig for the Cure event, benefitting the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. Fans wearing pink to the match will gain admission for $1 and the first 500 fans will receive a pink ‘Dig for the Cure’ wristband.