FAYETTEVILLE – In its finale of the 2010 season, the University of Arkansas volleyball team lost to No. 17 LSU in three sets (25-19, 25-19, 25-20) Wednesday night at Barnhill Arena. Kelli Stipanovich closed out her junior season with 14 kills and a .367 hitting percentage against the Tigers. Jasmine Norton also tallied double-digit kills with 10 putaways in the match.
"We weren’t able to match LSU’s intensity throughout the match," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "We had some good stretches but nothing constant. It’s a disappointing way to end the season because we didn’t play our best in the last match."
Arkansas (14-17, 8-12 SEC) fell behind early in game one thanks to some hot hitting by the Tigers and after a kill by Tania Schatow, the deficit was four to force a timeout out of Pulliza. After the pause in action, the Razorbacks rattled off the next four points, including back-to-back kills by Stipanovich, to tie the score at 12-12. LSU (25-4, 16-4 SEC) responded to win four of the next five points to regain control. The visitors won the final three points of the set to take the opener, 25-19.
All of the Razorbacks’ offense in the first set came off the arm of three players with Stipanovich leading the way with six kills. Janeliss Torres-Lopez and Norton added five and four kills, respectively, while Raymariely Santos directed the offense with 12 assists in the first set.
The second set started similarly to the first with the Tigers jumping out to an early lead. Like they did in the opener, the Razorbacks came out of a timeout with a run of points to pull even. The middle stages of the set saw both teams trade points until the 14-14 mark. LSU used a short three-point run to go ahead for good. On the team’s first set point, Brittney Johnson and Michelle Williams teamed up for a block to give the Tigers the two-set lead.
The beginning of game three featured back-and-forth play. Norton posted a solo block of a Johnson attack to tie the score at 8-8. However, the Tigers reeled off four points in a row to seize the momentum for the final time. LSU began to pull away and extend its lead to as much as six. A kill by Alex Fitzmorris saved one match point but on the next rally, Schatow clinched the win for LSU with a kill.
Norton finishes the season as the top attacker for Arkansas with 3.83 kills per set, followed by Stipnaovich and Torres-Lopez with 2.40 and 1.94 kills per set, respectively. Libero Brooke Fournier, who had seven digs against LSU, led the team with 3.06 digs per set this season, while Torres-Lopez paced the defensive effort at the net with 1.03 blocks per set.
The Razorbacks finish the 2010 season with a 14-17 overall record and an 8-12 mark in SEC play. Both win totals represent highs for the program under Pulliza. To follow Arkansas’ progress throughout the offseason, including postseason awards and spring workouts, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.