FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Behind a match-high 30 kills from redshirt senior and team co-captain Pilar Victoria and a raucous 1,343 fans at Barnhill Arena, the University of Arkansas volleyball team pushed No. 3 Florida to five sets Sunday afternoon but dropped a 3-2 decision to the visiting Gators. With the loss, the Razorbacks drop to 11-3 overall—all three losses coming to ranked opponents—and 1-1 in SEC play.
#3 Florida 3, Arkansas 2 | Box Score
Attendance: 1,343 | Time: 2:17
Barnhill Arena (Fayetteville, Ark.)
- Leaders vs #3 Florida
- Kills: Pilar Victoria – 30 (fourth match of the season with 30+ kills; seventh career)
- Digs: Okiana Valle – 13
- Blocks: Kelly O’Brien – 7.0 (2-5)
- Rachel Rippee – 54 assists, 11 digs (sixth of the season)
In the decisive fifth set, Florida (9-0, 1-0 SEC) scored the first point but the Razorbacks reeled off the next four and took the 4-1 lead on a kill by Kelly O’Brien. With the score tied at 7-all, O’Brien teamed up with freshman Hailey Dirrigl for a block to give Arkansas an 8-7 edge as the teams switched sides. The Gators used a 4-1 surge to go ahead 13-10 on the scoreboard. Facing three match points, Victoria and O’Brien posted back-to-back kills to extend the match but Florida sealed the victory with a kill out of the backrow.
Dating back to the 2010 season, seven of the last eight Arkansas-Florida matches played in Fayetteville have gone at least four sets including four five setters. The Razorbacks are now 3-2 in five-set matches this season.
Sunday’s effort marked the fourth 30-kill performance of the season for Victoria, pushing her program-record career total to seven. She registered a .288 hitting percentage, adding seven digs and two service aces against the Gators. Victoria was joined in double figures by Reagan Robinson who equaled her career high with 12 kills. Sophomore setter Rachel Rippee posted her sixth double-double of the season with 54 assists and 11 digs to go along with a career-high five kills.
Defensively, junior libero Okiana Valle picked up a team-high 13 digs as she continued to climb Arkansas’ career digs list. With her fifth dig of the match, she moved into sole possession of seventh place. At the net, O’Brien tallied a match-leading seven total blocks including a solo stuff that sent the match to a fifth set. The junior middle blocker added four kills.
Facing a 2-1 match deficit, the Razorbacks scored three of the first four points of the fourth set but Florida responded and used a four-point surge to turn an 11-all score into a 15-11 lead after an ace. The Gators maintained the lead at 19-15 when the home team began to rally back, pulling even at 20-all after back-to-back kills from Victoria and O’Brien. Once again, the visitors pushed ahead at 22-20 but Arkansas scored five of the final six points of the set including two kills from Victoria and the set-winning block by O’Brien.
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