FAYETTEVILLE – Former Razorback Yarleen Santiago secured a gold-medal finish with partner Dariam Acevedo at the Boca Chica Beach Volleyball Tournament in the Dominican Republic. The Puerto Rican duo defeated Niriam Sinal and Kirenia Ballar of Cuba in three sets to earn the win. The Boca Chica event was the third stop on the 2010 North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) circuit.
In the finals, Santiago and Acevedo lost the first set, but rallied for a 19-21, 21-19, 21-19 victory. They advanced to the championship match with another three-set victory in the semifinal round, besting Ingrid Morales and Natalia Alfaro of Costa Rica.
It was the pair’s third consecutive podium finish of the season. After winning the first event of the year in the Cayman Islands, Santiago and Acevedo won bronze at the previous stop in El Salvador. The fourth stop of the NORCECA season will happen at Campo Marte in Guatemala City.
Santiago played for Arkansas during the 1997-99 seasons and totaled 1,342 kills in three years, the sixth-best total in program history. She was a three-time All-Southeastern Conference selection, twice being named to the league’s first team. During her collegiate career, the Razorbacks were 89-19 with a 41-4 mark in conference play, and in 1997, the Razorbacks captured the SEC Tournament title. Santiago also helped lead Arkansas to three NCAA Tournament appearances.
Head coach Robert Pulliza and his team will resume their spring exhibition season April 17 at the Blue Valley West Tournament in Overland Park, Kan. The spring closes with an April 24 home match against Missouri State at Barnhill Arena.