FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Four players recorded double-digit kill totals and libero Phoebe Bautista recorded a career-high 33 digs Friday night as the University of Arkansas volleyball team defeated Auburn in five sets, 32-30, 22-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-10, at Barnhill Arena. Jasmine Norton tallied 28 kills and Amanda Anderson knocked off a career-high 15 kills to pace the Razorbacks. Bautista’s defensive effort is the second-highest total in program history.Kelli Stipanovich and Kristin Seaton each equaled a season high with 15 and 14 kills, respectively. Freshman setter Cassie Clarke improved on her career high with 66 assists, the most by a Razorback setter this season; Lindsay Scanlan had 60 assists in an Oct. 9 match against Alabama. Following Bautista’s lead, three other players totaled double-digit dig marks. Clarke and Norton each had 12 digs, in addition to 11 scoops by Mackenzie Rhea."That was a great match for us and we were doing some very, very good things," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "We just keep getting better and that’s the way it should be down the stretch of the season. Looking at these offensive numbers, we knew we were going to need balance and we definitely got that. We told (Kristin) Seaton to take a big swing for us and she did (on match point) to bring it home."Arkansas saved four set points and had four of its own in the first set, ultimately prevailing, 32-30, when Amanda Anderson and Cassie Clarke paired up for a tandem block to clinch the opener. The team combined for eight set points with Auburn enjoying the first three. The first set was tied on 22 occasions and saw 13 lead changes. After letting the first three slip by, Arkansas gained its fourth, and final, set point on a kill by Anderson.The Tigers responded with a push to open the second set, jumping out to a 10-6 lead with a block by Morgan Johns and Lauren Mellor. Arkansas won four of the next five points to pull to within one, but Auburn maintained its cushion and never relinquished its lead. A hitting miscue by Seaton gave the Tigers a 20-17 lead, their largest of the set. The Razorbacks saved one set point, but Kelly Fidero had a kill to clinch the set, 25-22.Both teams attacked at a high rate in the third set with the Razorbacks posted a .357 hitting percentage compared to a .324 mark for Auburn. The difference in the set came late in the set with the score tied at 21-21. The Tigers rallied from a four-point deficit to even the score, but Arkansas reeled off four of the final five points in the set, including a pair of kills by Norton and a dump by Clarke. The Razorbacks came away with the set, 25-22, after an attack error by Auburn’s Alyssa Davis.As it was in the third set, the teams fought to a 10-10 tie but it was the Tigers to forge ahead, grabbing a 15-12 lead. A kill by Anderson pulled Arkansas to within one, trailing 16-15, but Auburn won the next three points to extend its lead for good. The Razorbacks held off two Auburn set points to close the gap, but Johns smacked a kill to close the set in favor of the Tigers, 25-20.The fifth set was decided by a four-point spurt by Arkansas that lifted the team to a 7-3 advantage. The run was jump started by a block by Allison Johnson, a swat of Davis, the tallest player on the floor. An attack error by Sarah Bullock gave the Razorbacks a 10-5 and forced a timeout from Auburn head coach Wade Benson. The Tigers got back to within four, but Arkansas held on the momentum, closing out the set and the match with a kill by Seaton.The Razorbacks return to the court Nov. 22 for their final home match of the season, a 1:30 p.m. (CT) meeting with the Georgia Bulldogs. Sunday’s match will be Senior Day for Arkansas’ two senior players, Lindsay Scanlan and Kristen Seaton. Both players will be recognized in a pre-match ceremony. For more information, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
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