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Razorbacks host No. 12 Kentucky

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Razorbacks host No. 12 Kentucky

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After a four-set victory on the road in its last outing, the University of Arkansas volleyball team returns to Barnhill Arena for its next three matches, including Friday’s meeting with No. 12 Kentucky. First serve of the Southeastern Conference showdown is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CT). The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a free red t-shirt in the Razorbacks’ homecoming celebration, "Halloween on the Hill: We Bleed Razorback Red."In the first meeting between the two teams earlier this season, then-No. 17 Kentucky came away with a straight-set victory over the Razorbacks at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington. In the loss, Kelli Stipanovich totaled 12 kills and a .800 hitting percentage, the second-highest mark by an SEC player this season. Freshmen Amanda Anderson and Jasmine Norton added eight and seven kills, respectively, against the Wildcats. Arkansas (11-12, 5-7 SEC) leads the all-time series, 13-12, but has lost the last five contests."We’re looking to carry over our performance in our last match (at South Carolina) into this weekend against Kentucky and Tennessee," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "We have to defend better and that’s something we’re working on. We need to block better and dig more balls. Offensively, we’re putting up the numbers but we need to match those with good defensive numbers to pull off an upset of either team this weekend."Coming off a 25-kill performance against South Carolina, Norton paces the Razorback offense this season with 3.85 kills per set. It was her sixth match this season with at least 20 kills, four of which have come during conference play. Friday’s contest with Kentucky will feature the top two kill leaders in league play as Kentucky’s Sarah Mendoza is averaging 4.39 kills per set, while Norton is averaging 4.29 kills per set in SEC matches this season.Behind Norton, Stipanovich has 2.58 kills per set and Anderson is putting down 2.36 kills per set. Anderson is eighth in the SEC with a .313 hitting percentage from her middle position. Running the offense as the Razorbacks’ setter, Lindsay Scanlan is fourth in the conference with 9.87 assists per set. She dished out 49 assists in Arkansas’ last match, a 3-1 victory at South Carolina. Defensively, libero Phoebe Bautista is averaging 3.94 digs per set and Anderson leads the team with 0.88 blocks per set.As a team, Kentucky (20-2, 10-1) is hitting at a .281 clip this season, the second-highest hitting percentage in the conference. Under the direction of Sarah Rumley’s SEC-leading 11.79 assists per set, the Wildcats are led by Mendoza, Lauren Rapp (2.41 k/s) and Becky Pavan (2.21 k/s). Gretchen Giesler is second in the SEC with a .364 hitting percentage with 1.99 kills per set. Giesler also leads UK with 1.01 blocks per set and libero BriAnne Sauer is averaging 4.20 digs per set.Arkansas’ three-match homestand also includes a Sunday contest against Tennessee, set for a 1:30 p.m. (CT) first serve. Live stats and stream of the match will be available to viewers at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)