BATON ROUGE, La. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team took a set from No. 12 LSU but, ultimately, the Tigers came away with the four-set win (25-17, 17-25, 25-13, 25-17) Wednesday evening at the Maravich Center in Baton Rouge. Kelli Stipanovich posted her first double-double of the season with 11 kills and 10 digs. The junior attacker also posted a team-best .407 hitting percentage. Jasmine Norton led Arkansas with 12 kills and libero Mackenzie Rhea also tallied 10 digs.
"We did some really good things in that second set," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "But in the third set, LSU came out really strong and we didn’t match their effort. We had some chances in game four to pull even couldn’t execute the way we wanted."
In the opening set, Arkansas (9-11, 3-6 SEC) went point-for-point with the 12th-ranked team in the nation and at the media timeout, the Razorbacks trailed by three, 15-12. However, the Tigers used a four-point spurt to take control of the action. LSU (17-1, 8-1 SEC) built its lead to as large as nine and on the team’s first set point, Sam Delahoussaye closed out the game for the Tigers with a kill.
Game two started in a similar pattern to the first but it was the Razorbacks using a mid-set surge to gain the advantage. Up by an 11-10 score, Arkansas won five of the next six points to go ahead by five on an attack error by LSU’s Michele Williams. The Tigers responded to pull to within two but the visiting Razorbacks rattled off five points in a row to take the momentum. On the third set point for Arkansas, Victoria Jacobsen sent a serve into the net to hand the Razorbacks the game.
In winning the second set, Arkansas flashed an impressive defense performance. The Razorbacks held LSU to a .135 hitting percentage in the game and tallied 15 team digs compared to 12 for the home squad. Stipanovich paced the team in the set with five kills and Norton added four.
Out of the halftime break, the Tigers responded and raced out to a big lead in game three. Already ahead by two, LSU reeled off nine consecutive points to push its lead to 15-4. The home team maintained its double-digit advantage throughout and Williams tallied the set-winning kill to put LSU one game away from the match.
The Tigers never trailed in the fourth set but Arkansas rallied from their game-three setback. The two teams exchanged sideouts and the Razorbacks trailed by just one after a kill by Stipanovich. LSU slowly began to pull away after the media timeout and went out to a six-point lead after an ace by Williams. Arkansas got as close as four but Desiree Elliott ended the match in favor of the Tigers with a kill.
The Razorbacks return to the court Sunday in a road meeting with Ole Miss. First serve of the Western Division matchup is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the Gillom Sports Center in Oxford, Miss. To follow the action, a live audio stream interactive blog and live stats will be available at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.