FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Playing in its 10th five-set match of the season and its second in as many Sundays, the University of Arkansas volleyball team posted a 3-2 win over Texas A&M and, in the process, secured the program’s first home victory against the Aggies. Redshirt senior Pilar Victoria led all players with 24 kills while freshman Hailey Dirrigl registered 15 kills of her own. With the result, the Razorbacks improve to 17-8 overall and 7-6 in SEC play.
Arkansas 3, Texas A&M 2 (16-25, 25-20, 25-23, 22-25, 15-10) | Box Score
Attendance: 841 | Time: 2:26
Barnhill Arena (Fayetteville, Ark.)
- Leaders vs Texas A&M
- Kills: Pilar Victoria – 24
- Digs: Okiana Valle – 19
- Blocks: Rachel Rippee – 8.0 (1-7)
- Double-doubles vs Texas A&M
- Rachel Rippee – 50 assists, 14 digs
- Pilar Victoria – 24 kills, 11 digs
Early in the decisive fifth frame, the Razorbacks put together a four-point surge to take a 6-2 lead after back-to-back kills by Dirrigl. The home team led 8-4 at the switch and extended its advantage to 10-5 with a kill by Elizabeth Pamphile. Arkansas arrived at match point—14-8—after Victoria went high off the Aggies’ block for a kill. Texas A&M (7-13, 4-9 SEC) saved two match points before Victoria secured the victory with her 24th kill of the afternoon.
Prior to Sunday’s result, each of Arkansas’ wins against Texas A&M had come on the Aggies’ home floor in College Station. The victory also clinched the season sweep for the first time since A&M joined the conference in 2012; the Razorbacks won the first meeting between the teams (Oct. 20).
In addition to her double-double performance of 50 assists and 14 digs, Rippee led all players with a career-high eight total blocks. Pamphile tied her career high with seven blocks in the match and Kelly O’Brien contributed with five blocks against the Aggies. Arkansas finished the afternoon with 15.5 total team blocks, its second-highest figure of the season and highest in an SEC match since the 2015 season.
Behind the block, junior libero Okiana Valle picked up a team-best 19 digs and led a quintet of Razorbacks who had at least 10 digs in the match. Team co-captain Kori Ortiz tied her season high with 11 digs while fellow senior Krista Kolbinskie had 10 digs of her own.
With the match tied 1-1 and Texas A&M ahead 15-10 in the third set, the Razorbacks won seven of the next eight points to go ahead 17-16 and force their opponent to call a timeout. From that moment, the frame saw six ties and four lead changes. Arkansas trailed 23-22 but out of a timeout called by head coach Jason Watson, scored the final three points for a 2-1 match advantage.
The Aggies forced the deciding set after another tight finish in the fourth frame. As they did in the third, the visitors were up 15-10 on the scoreboard. Arkansas won nine of the next 13, capping the run with a Pamphile kill to pull even at 19-all. The score was tied again at 21-21 but Texas A&M won four of the last five to set up the first five setter between the teams since the first-ever match in the series.
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