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Razorbacks push No. 22 Michigan to five

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Razorbacks push No. 22 Michigan to five
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — In the championship match of the 2012 adidas/Michigan Challenge, the University of Arkansas volleyball team dropped a five-set decision to No. 22 Michigan (25-17, 21-25, 25-22, 21-25, 18-16) at Cliff Keen Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Razorbacks had two match points in the fifth set before the home team eventually rallied for the win. The loss is Arkansas’ first of the season and drops the team’s record to 6-1 through the first two weeks of the year. Jasmine Norton led all players with 19 kills and added a career-high 24 digs to complete her fourth double-double performance of the season. Roslandy Acosta had 15 kills and freshman Liz Fortado tallied a career-high 10 kills in the loss. From her setter position, Raymariely Santos posted her third double-double of the season with 48 assists and 10 digs. She also registered a career-high seven total blocks. For their respective efforts during the weekend, Norton and Acosta earned spots on the all-tournament team. Libero Emily Helm tied for the team lead with 24 digs of her own and had a season-high six assists. The fourth Razorback with double-figure digs was Christa Alvarez with 13 digs. At the net, Kasey Heckelman had a match-high eight total blocks. Despite the loss, the Razorback defense finished the match with more digs (83-79) and more total blocks (16.0-5.0) than Michigan. “We played a good match, just not good enough,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “We did some good things against a very good Michigan team, but in the end, it wasn’t enough tonight. We still have work to do to keep getting better. It’s another quick turnaround to get ready for Oklahoma on Tuesday back in Fayetteville.” In the decisive fifth set, Arkansas carried the momentum of winning the fourth and jumped out to a 5-2 lead. The quick start was capped by a block from Heckelman and Santos. The Wolverines responded with a 5-2 run of their own to even the score at 7-all. From that point, the score was tied on nine occasions. Arkansas arrived at its first match point, 14-13, after a kill from Acosta, and its second match point, 15-14, on another Heckelman-Santos block. The Razorbacks saved a Michigan match point with another kill from Acosta. However, on their second chance to win the match, the Wolverines watched an Arkansas attack land wide for the tournament victory. The Razorbacks opened the match by winning six of the first seven points, capping the run with a tandem block by Heckelman and Santos. Michigan (7-0) began to chip away and pulled even at 12-all on a kill by tournament MVP Lexi Dannemiller. The home team began to pull away and forced a second timeout from Arkansas after another kill from the Wolverine setter. Michigan closed out the first set, 25-17, with a service ace. After falling behind early in the second set, Arkansas responded with a six-point push to even the score at 13-all. During the stretch, the Razorbacks picked up two kills and a block from Fortado. Michigan re-established its lead and led 20-17 after a kill from Lexi Erwin. Out of a timeout called by Pulliza, Arkansas responded by winning eight of the final nine points in the game. On the team’s first set point, Santos found the deep corner with a second-touch attack to close out the set, 25-21, and pull the Razorbacks even on the match scoreboard. During the decisive run of points for Arkansas, Amanda Anderson had four kills off the bench. Michigan regained control of the match by winning the third set, 25-22. The game was tied as late as 17-17. The home team used a quick three-point run to go ahead. The Razorbacks pulled to within two points on a kill by Norton but on Michigan’s second set point, Jennifer Cross found to floor to put the Wolverines ahead in the match. The fourth set played out similar to the second set won by the Razorbacks. The teams played to an even start and Arkansas took a 14-12 lead after consecutive attack errors from its opponent. A surge by the home team switched the score back into their favor, 20-18, after a kill by Molly Toon. Like the second set, the Razorbacks controlled the end of the set, winning seven of the final eight points in the set. Norton had a hand in the final three points with a pair of kills and a block with Heckelman. Arkansas returns to its home court next week to face Oklahoma (Sept. 4) in a midweek match and to host the Razorback Invitational (Sept. 7-8) at Barnhill Arena. In the tournament, Arkansas will face a field that includes Houston Baptist, ULM and UTEP. Reserved season tickets for home matches are $50 while first-time buyers can get tickets for $29. First-time season ticket buyers will also receive $20 worth of concession stand coupons for Sodexho. Tickets can be purchased online, at the Razorback Ticket Office on Razorback Road or by calling 1-800-982-HOGS (4647). General admission at Barnhill Arena is $4 while fans 17 years and younger get in free. For more information regarding Razorback volleyball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. New for the 2012 season, fans can also follow Razorback volleyball with its sport-specific RazorbackVB Twitter and Facebook pages.

Download: AR0901B.pdf



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)