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Razorback volleyball hosts SEC matches

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Razorback volleyball hosts SEC matches

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team returns to the friendly confines of Barnhill Arena hosting a pair of Southeastern Conference matches this weekend. Arkansas (4-11, 1-4 SEC) opens the weekend with Western Division rival Alabama (8-6, 1-4 SEC) at 7 p.m. Friday, followed by a 1:30 p.m. matchup with Mississippi State (6-10, 1-4) Sunday. “I can guarantee one of us is going to get our second SEC win,” joked Arkansas head coach Robert Pulliza. All three teams enter the weekend with 1-4 records in league matches with the trio all posting a win over Auburn this year. The Crimson Tide dropped a 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-19) decision to South Carolina Sunday in Tuscaloosa. Brookes Webster has been the leader for Alabama hitting .273 with a team-best 3.80 kills-per-game. Calli Johnson leads the block with 0.92 blocks-per-game Mississippi State is coming off losses to No. 10 Florida and South Carolina. Ioana Demian leads the team with 164 kills and a 2.83 kill-per-game average. Teammate Ashley Newsome is hitting a team-best .225 with 108 kills this year. “There is no doubt about it,” said Pulliza, “this is an evenly-matched weekend of volleyball. We match up well with both teams but our biggest opponent is ourselves right now. We have to get the offense and defense clicking on the same day and limit our mistakes.” Arkansas is coming off a disappointing road trip last weekend that saw the Razorbacks drop matches at Georgia and LSU. The Razorbacks hit a season-best .330 against the Bulldogs and were hitting above .300 until late in the match at LSU. Despite the good offensive output, Arkansas was on the wrong side of a double-digit disparity in the digs column and that was the difference in both matches. “Our defense has come up a bit short lately,” said Pulliza, “but that is something we’ve addressed this week in practice. The team is really working hard and trying to improve with each practice and that’s encouraging.” Arkansas and the rest of the SEC is nearing the mid-point of the league season. The Razorbacks hit the road next weekend traveling to Kentucky and Tennessee and go to Ole Miss for a mid-week tilt before beginning the second round of SEC play. “We’re not quite to the mid-point of the SEC schedule yet and there is a lot of volleyball to play,” said Pulliza. Tickets for both matches are available by calling the Razorback Ticket Office at 575-5150 or by logging on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)