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Pulliza Arkansas get win

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Pulliza Arkansas get win

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ATLANTA, Ga. – University of Arkansas coach Robert Pulliza guided the Razorbacks to the first win of 2008 and the first win of his career as a head coach with a 3-0 victory over Georgia State at the Regency Suites/Georgia Tech Classic in Atlanta, Ga., Sunday. Arkansas (1-5) downed State (0-6) 25-22, 26-24, 25-21 behind a balanced team effort. “I’m excited for the players right now,” said Pulliza. “They’ve been working hard day in and day out. They’ve worked through a really tough schedule and showed great character. They showed great character on the road and at the tail end of a tough weekend and got it done. “I’d like to note the performances of Destiny Clark and Hillary McCormick this weekend,” Pulliza continued. “Both players had great efforts this weekend.” Clark, a junior from Manhattan, Kansas, finished Sunday’s match with eight kills and hit .316. She hit .333 for the weekend. McCormick, a sophomore from Overland Park, Kansas, finished Sunday’s match with seven kills, hit .375 and had six digs and four blocks in the win. Arkansas shook the monkey from its back late in the first set. Trailing by two, 18-20, Pulliza burned his final timeout. McCormick returned to the floor with a kill but State answered and the margin remained two in favor of the Panthers. Clark stepped up next with a cross court kill followed by a block solo from senior Yun Tang and the set was quickly tied at 21. The teams would tie again at 22 behind back-to-back kills from freshman Kelli Stipanovich gave Arkansas the lead. Stipanovich led all hitters with 10 kills. State called their final timeout but Arkansas had all the momentum closing out the set with a kill and a block for the win. The victory was the first set win of the season as Arkansas hit .239 with 16 kills. Stipanovich led the way with five kills followed by four from sophomore Heather Royal. Royal finished with nine kills and hit .250. Arkansas’ energy and momentum carried over into the start of the second set where the Razorbacks opened a quick 10-6 lead forcing a Panther timeout. The Razorbacks could smell the blood in the water and kept up the pressure with three more points extending the lead to 13-6 as Georgia State called its final timeout as the Panthers tried to rally. And they did just that with a 7-3 run closing Arkansas’ lead to three, 16-13, as Pulliza took his first timeout of the set. The score continued to tighten and both teams were quickly out of timeouts. Left to the talents of the players on the floor, Arkansas would step up down the stretch for the second set win. Tied at 24 after a kill from Stipanovich, an Arkansas block from Royal and McCormick was followed by a State miscue sealing the Razorback win. Arkansas hit just .108 with 11 kills but it bettered Georgia State’s zero hitting percentage. The Razorbacks also out-blocked the Panthers 5-4 in the set. For the first time in the 2008 season, Arkansas took a 2-0 lead into the locker room. It was a different Razorback team out of the locker room after the break. Although play was not perfect, the team’s confidence was evident as they controlled the tempo of the final set. Arkansas led by as many as five before the four-point win. Arkansas opens the 2008 home schedule Wednesday hosting Tulsa in a 6 p.m. match in Barnhill Arena. Home action continues Friday and Saturday as Arkansas hosts the Arkansas Invitational. For more information and complete tournament times, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)