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Razorbacks lose finale at Ole Miss

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Razorbacks lose finale at Ole Miss

OXFORD, Miss. – Jasmine Norton and Kelli Stipanovich each tallied 17 kills Wednesday night, but the University of Arkansas volleyball team dropped a five-set decision, 23-25, 21-25, 25-17, 25-20, 15-13, to Ole Miss at the Gillom Sports Center in Oxford, Miss. Kristin Seaton added 10 kills in the loss. It was the Razorbacks’ fourth consecutive five-set match. Arkansas finishes the 2009 season with a 13-18 record and a 7-13 mark in Southeastern Conference play.The Razorbacks jumped out to an early advantage in the first set, taking a 7-2 lead after a kill by Allison Johnson. Arkansas maintained the momentum and grabbed its largest lead of the set, 19-10, on a solo block by Stipanovich. Along with her defense, the sophomore outside hitter paced the Razorbacks in the opening set with six kills.Playing in their last home match of the season, however, the Rebels battled back to within four points, trailing 21-17, to force Arkansas head coach Robert Pulliza to call a timeout. Ole Miss eventually closed its deficit to one point before the Razorbacks arrived at set point. Stipanovich collected the final two points of the opener to close out the 25-23 win for Arkansas.The second set saw the Razorbacks take a 7-4 lead with a kill by Kristin Seaton. It was the largest lead of the set for Arkansas, which trailed only after the first point. A majority of the set was played in a back-and-forth fashion. With the score tied at 17-17, Arkansas reeled off four consecutive points to gain control of play. A kill by Stipanovich gave the Razorbacks five set points, 24-19. The Rebels won the next two points, but a service error by Whitney Cravens handed Arkansas the two-set advantage heading into intermission.Ole Miss took a 10-5 lead out of the locker room to grab early momentum in the third set. Despite several pushes by the Razorbacks to pull within one, Ole Miss maintained its lead. As it was in the second set, the score was tied at 17-17, but this time the Rebels responded with the final charge. The home team won the final eight points, capped by an attack error by Seaton, to win set three.The teams battled to 10 ties in the defensive-minded fourth set. Arkansas limited the Rebels to a .157 hitting percentage, but were held to a .077 attack efficiency of its own. The teams battled to an 18-18 tie before Ole Miss took control of the set with a mini surge to take a 22-19 lead. Back-to-back hitting miscues by Norton gave Ole Miss the set, 25-20.The Rebels won the first three points of the fifth, but Arkansas rallied to eventually tie the score at 7-7. Ole Miss stayed strong and won five of the next six points to take a 12-8 lead. Trailing 13-10, the Razorbacks used kills by Stipanovich and Janeliss Torres-Lopez and an Ole Miss hitting error to pull even. But the home team came away with the final two points of the match, punctuated with a kill by Miranda Kitts to seal the victory.

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Sports Category : Volleyball (W)