STARKVILLE, Miss. — Jasmine Norton continued her streak of double-digit kill performances Friday night but it wasn’t enough as the University of Arkansas volleyball team lost to Mississippi State in four sets, 25-15, 25-14, 21-25, 25-13. Norton tallied 15 kills to run her streak to 12 consecutive matches with at least 10 kills. The match was decided by the defense of Mississippi State, however, as the Razorbacks were held to a .007 hitting percentage.
Norton added 10 digs for Arkansas (11-16, 5-11 SEC) during the match for her fourth consecutive double-double effort. Cassie Clarke, in reserve duty against the Bulldogs, recorded a career-high 22 assists. Kristin Seaton and Amanda Anderson added nine and eight kills, respectively, in the loss. However, Mississippi State controlled the net with 17 total blocks.
Mississippi State (7-21, 3-14 SEC) jumped out to early lead in the opening set, taking advantage of the Razorbacks’ cold hitting and miscues. The Bulldogs led, 3-2, after the first five points of the match, but began to stretch its lead with a 4-1 run. Trailing by three, Arkansas was on the wrong end of three-point run and with his team down 12-6, head coach Robert Pulliza called his first timeout.
The Bulldogs maintained their lead, however, and went ahead 17-10. Down the stretch of the first set, Arkansas pulled to within five on two occasions, but never any closer. The Bulldogs went on to clinch the set, 25-15. Arkansas was held to a -.094 hitting percentage in the opener.
The second set followed a similar pattern as the first. Mississippi State led at 3-2, but reeled off nine of 10 points to take firm control of the action. Arkansas got back to within seven on several occasions, but the margin was too large and the Bulldogs pulled away with a 25-14 win in the second.
Arkansas came out of the intermission break and took an 8-3 lead after back-to-back kills by Anderson and Seaton. The Bulldogs won the next three points to close the gap and eventually pulled even, 10-10, but Norton found the floor with another kill to give Arkansas the lead. The kill spurred a five-point run to give the Razorbacks the 15-10 lead.
The Razorbacks maintained its advantage for the remainder of the set, fighting off a late MSU push. Leading by one, 20-19, Arkansas won an extended rally to secure its hold on the set. Anderson took care of the final two points of the set with a kill and a service ace to give the Razorbacks the third set, 25-21.
Neither team was about to separate from the other during the early stages of the fourth set, but with the scored tied at 4-4, the Bulldogs went on a 5-1 run to gain the upper hand. In its final push of the match, Arkansas closed its deficit to two, but Mississippi State closed out the victory with a 15-5 run.
The Razorbacks take on Alabama in their weekend finale, a Nov. 15 matchup at the CAVE on the Crimson Tide’s campus. The contest will be televised by Fox Sports South and broadcast on KXUA 88.3 FM in Fayetteville with first serve scheduled for 1 p.m. (CT). Check your television listings for availability. For more information, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
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