FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas volleyball team travels to Manhattan, Kan., this weekend for the K-State Varney’s Invitational, its first road competition of the season. Including the Razorbacks, the tournament field also features UCF, Middle Tennessee and host Kansas State. Arkansas opens play Thursday against Kansas State at 6 p.m. (CT) at Bramlage Coliseum.
The Razorbacks’ weekend opener will be televised by FOX College Sports with Brian Smoller and Liz Wenger-Busch handling the play-by-play and color commentary duties, respectively. Check your local listings for availability. Kansas State will also offer a free online audio stream for the match. Arkansas will close out the weekend with match against UCF on Friday at 5 p.m. and Middle Tennessee on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Arkansas enters this weekend’s matches leading the SEC in opponent hitting percentage, holding its opposition to a .062 figure through the first three matches of the year. The Razorbacks are ranked third in the league with 3.36 blocks per set and have three players—Chanell Clark-Bibbs (1.64 b/s), Ana Sofia Jusino (1.36) and Danielle Harbin (1.27)—positioned individually within the top 10 in the SEC.
Offensively, Arkansas is paced by Meredith Hays who is tied for sixth in the conference with 3.27 kills per set. Clark-Bibbs leads the team with a .327 hitting percentage while averaging 2.27 kills per set through three matches. Bailee Hankenson directs the Razorback offense from the setter position and posted the team’s first double-double with 36 assists and 14 digs against Michigan. Six different Razorbacks have double-digit kills.
In their last outing, the Razorbacks knocked off Michigan in five sets to win the season-opening Arkansas Invitational at Barnhill Arena. Clark-Bibbs earned MVP honors for her weekend performance while Hays and Monica Bollinger were named to the all-tournament team. With their 3-0 start including a win over Michigan that was receiving votes in the preseason polls, the Razorbacks are receiving votes in this week’s AVCA coaches’ poll.
Season tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased online at ArkansasRazorbacks.com 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. Arkansas’ next home match is Sept. 9 when it hosts Oral Roberts at 7 p.m.
• K-State Varney’s Invitational tournament field
o Arkansas: 3-0
o UCF: 4-0
o Kansas State: 2-1
o Middle Tennessee: 1-2
• First trip to Manhattan, Kan., since the 2007 season
• Thursday’s match vs. Kansas State will be televised on FOX College Sports
o 25 of 31 matches are either televised or streamed live
• Meredith Hays is 23 kills shy of 500 in her Razorback career
o Would be the 28th player in program history to reach milestone
• Next home match: Sept. 9 vs. Oral Roberts, first serve at 7 p.m.
For more information about Arkansas volleyball, follow @RazorbackVB on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.