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Norton racks up fourth double-double

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Norton racks up fourth double-double

AUBURN, Ala. – For the first time during its Southeastern Conference schedule, the University of Arkansas volleyball team played a five-set match, but came out on the wrong end of Sunday’s meeting at Auburn. The Razorbacks won the first two sets, but Auburn came away with the 25-27, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 16-14 victory in front of its home crowd of 320 fans. Freshman Jasmine Norton tallied a match-high 20 kills and 11 digs in the setback, her fourth double-double performance of the season.After splitting the first four sets, the two teams found themselves locked in a tight fifth set that featured 10 ties and three lead changes. Arkansas (8-9, 2-4 SEC) jumped out to a 4-1 advantage in the deciding set behind three kills by Norton. The Tigers responded with five consecutive points, but Norton ended the streak with another putaway and Auburn led, 6-5.Auburn (11-5, 3-2) held on to its one-point lead until the Razorbacks strung together a pair of points in a row, kills by Kristin Seaton and Kelli Stipanovich. The see-saw battled continued as the home team recaptured the advantage, 11-10, for what proved to be the final lead change of the match. Facing match point, Lindsay Scanlan set the ball outside to Norton who delivered with her sixth kill of the set to even the score at 14-14. The Tigers, however, secured a second match point on a kill by Kelly Fidero, and completed the comeback when Norton’s back-row attack landed long for the 16-14 triumph in the fifth set.The Razorbacks fall to 1-4 this season in five-set matches, and have yet to play a four-set contest. Arkansas defeated Tulsa in five sets in a Sept. 8 road match.In the opening set, the Razorbacks controlled a majority of the action, holding Auburn off by three and four points on several occasions. Arkansas arrived at set point, 24-20, on a Scanlan-Norton connection. Behind the serve of Lauren Mellor, Auburn saved all four sets points and went ahead, 25-24, with a block. The Razorbacks responded with a kill out of the middle from Janeliss Torres-Lopez to even the score. The freshman middle blocker finished the match with a career-high eight kills. After an Auburn error, Norton sealed the first set, 27-25, with a service ace.The second set followed as similar pattern as the first with neither team able to distance itself from the other by more than two points. Auburn went ahead by three, 13-10, on a kill by Sarah Bullock, and eventually went ahead, 21-19, after another Bullock kill. Amanda Anderson stepped up for the Razorbacks with back-to-back blocks to pull her team back even. Anderson tied a career high with seven total blocks in the match. Arkansas won four of the next six points, capped by a Norton kill, to take the set, 25-23.After intermission, the Tigers came out on fire to grab control of the third set. The home team never trailed in the stanza and took a six-point lead, 15-9, on a Mellor kill. Facing an uphill battle, the Razorbacks began to chip away at the Auburn lead pulling to within two, 19-17, on an Anderson-Stipanovich block, and one at 22-21 on an ace from Stipanovich. Arkansas would only win one more point as the Tigers pulled away to win the third set, 25-22.Arguably the tightest set of the match, the fourth set saw 13 ties with seven lead changes and the biggest lead by either team was two points. A back-and-forth affair throughout the set, the score was tied, 19-19, after a kill by Stipanovich. The fourth set would be tied again at 20, 21, 22 and 23. Phoebe Bautista stood at the service line with the score tied, 23-all, but her serve down the line was just wide to set up set point for Auburn. The Tigers wasted no time capitalizing with a block on the next play to come away with the 25-23 set win.Scanlan tied a career high with 53 assists in the match. The Razorbacks return to Fayetteville for three consecutive matches beginning with an Oct. 9 matchup with Alabama at 7 p.m. from Barnhill Arena.

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Sports Category : Volleyball (W)