FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For the second time in as many nights, the University of Arkansas volleyball team rallied from an 0-2 deficit but fell short of completing the comeback with a five-set loss Saturday to SMU at Barnhill Arena. In recognition of her play during this weekend’s Razorback Invitational including a pair of double-double performances, senior Meredith Hays earned all-tournament honors.
Arkansas (4-6) trailed by as much as seven in the fourth set but saved six match points to extend play to five sets. On the team’s second set point, Chanell Clark-Bibbs and Shelby Harper teamed up for a block to force a decisive fifth set. Four of the Razorbacks’ last seven points in the fourth came via a block. However, SMU (8-1) raced out to an early lead in set five to come away with the victory.
Hays closed out the weekend with 24 kills and 14 digs for her fourth double-double of the season. She added seven total blocks against the Mustangs. During the two-day, three-match round robin, Hays averaged 4.31 kills per set and 3.00 digs per set. With her 10th kill of the match, she became the 24th player in program history with 600 career kills.
Defensively, junior libero Monica Bollinger reached a milestone of her own with her 500th career dig. She ended the match with 24 digs and currently sits in 28th place in program history with 520 career digs. Bollinger is the 31st player in program history to reach that career mark. She was joined in double figures by freshman Holly Hankenson who posted a season-best 11 digs against SMU.
At the net, Arkansas matched its season high with 16.0 total team blocks and out-blocked its opponent for the eighth time in 10th matches this year. Ana Sofia Jusino led all players with nine total blocks and was one of four Razorbacks with at least six along with Clark-Bibbs, Harper and Hays. Clark-Bibbs also had 10 kills on the night for Arkansas.
The Razorbacks hit the road next weekend for the Jayhawk Classic which will be held Sept. 19-20 in Lawrence, Kan. In addition to Arkansas, the tournament field also features Cleveland State, North Texas and host and 24th-ranked Kansas. Arkansas’ next home match will double as its SEC opener on Sept. 26 against Tennessee.
Season tickets to join the crowd at Barnhill Arena are on sale and can be purchased online or by calling 800-982-HOGS (4647). Beginning at $40, all season-ticket packages include a free team knit hat. Single-match tickets are $5 for adults while UA students and fans 17 years and younger get in free.
SMU 3, Arkansas 2 (25-18, 25-21, 21-25, 26-28, 15-17)
Attendance: 742 | Time: 2:14
• Stat Leaders vs. SMU
o Kills: 24 – Meredith Hays
o Digs: 24 – Monica Bollinger
o Blocks: 9 – Ana Sofia Jusino
• Has out-blocked opponent in eight of 10 matches this season
o Match season high with 16.0 total team blocks
o Four players with at least six total blocks
• Milestone Watch:
o Meredith Hays: Became 24th player in program history with 600 career kills
– Moved into 24th place all-time, currently has 614 career kills
o Monica Bollinger: Became 31st player in program history with 500 career digs
– Moved into 28th place all-time, currently has 520 career digs
• First meeting between Arkansas and SMU since the 2004 season; third overall
• Up next: Sept. 19-20 | Jayhawk Classic in Lawrence, Kan.
• Next home match: SEC opener Sept. 26 vs. Tennessee at 7 p.m. [SEC Network+]
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