FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Despite a pair of double-digit kill performances by Jasmine Norton and Amanda Anderson, the University of Arkansas volleyball team dropped a four-set decision to No. 12 Kentucky Friday night at Barnhill Arena. The Wildcats came away with the 25-18, 17-25, 25-22, 25-15 win. Norton recorded her ninth-consecutive double-digit effort with a match-high 19 kills, while Anderson totaled 12 putaways at a .455 hitting clip.Norton also tallied 13 digs to record her seventh double-double of the season. Senior setter Lindsay Scanlan had 40 assists and 12 digs for her second consecutive double-double performance. Kelli Stipanovich and Kristin Seaton added nine and eight kills, respectively. Four Wildcats collected at least 10 kills, led by 16 from Sarah Mendoza.The two teams played even through the early stages of the first set, but a five-point run by Kentucky gave the visitors an 11-5 lead to force a timeout from head coach Robert Pulliza. The Razorbacks won the first two points out of the timeout to close their deficit to four, but it was as close as they would get the rest of the set. A kill by Lauren Rapp gave the Wildcats their largest lead, 21-13, and they went on to take the opener, 25-18."During the first set, we were doing the right things, volleyball wise," Pulliza said. "We just weren’t paying attention to the little things on defense, but we did a much better job with that in the second set. (The defensive plays) gave us some momentum with our offense."In the second set, UK jumped out to a 4-1 advantage, but the Razorbacks scored the next four points to grab the lead. The teams played a 10-10 tie before Arkansas went on another run, winning six of the next seven points to pull away from its opponent. Five different Razorbacks scored during the stretch, including a pair of kills from Seaton. The home team led, 16-11, when UK called its second timeout of the set.A stuff block by Allison Johnson and Kelli Stipanovich pushed the Arkansas lead to 21-15. The Razorbacks held Kentucky to a .093 hitting percentage in the second set, while posting a .333 attack efficiency of their own. A hitting error by UK’s Gretchen Giesler gave the home team set point and the Razorbacks secured the set, 25-17, on another attack error from the Wildcats.Out of the locker room after intermission, Kentucky won the first two points of the third set on a pair of kills by Becky Pavan. With the score tied at 4-4, the Wildcats reeled off thee consecutive points to take control of the action. They extended their lead, 10-5, on a block by Pavan and Sarah Rumley. The Razorbacks fought back and pulled to within two after a kill by Anderson and trailed, 12-10.
Arkansas continued its push and closed to within one point after a kill by Johnson and UK head coach Craig Skinner called timeout with his team’s lead down to 15-14. The Wildcats pulled ahead by four, 21-17, but Arkansas inched back again. Back-to-back kills by Norton put the Razorbacks one back, 23-22, but a kill by Giesler and a hitting miscue by Katelyn McCarthy ended the set in favor of Kentucky, 25-22.
As was the case in earlier sets, the opening stages of the fourth were tight and the teams found themselves tied at 11-11. The Wildcats, however, won seven of the next eight points to take an 18-12 lead. A block by Giesler and Rapp pushed the visitors’ lead to eight, 22-14. Kentucky finished the night with nine total blocks, five more than the Razorbacks. An attack error by Anderson gave Kentucky the set, 25-15, and the set.
"In that fourth set, we just faded away," Pulliza said. "We know that we can play with the best teams in the country, but we have to do a better job of staying consistent throughout an entire match."Arkansas continues its three-match homestand Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. (CT) match against Tennessee at Barnhill Arena. The contest will be broadcast on KXUA 88.3 FM in Fayetteville. For live stats and more information, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
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