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SEC volleyball action continues at Bama Sunday

BY ANDRES FOCIL
SEC volleyball action continues at Bama Sunday

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team continues its quest for a 10th Southeastern Conference Western Division title Sunday with a 1:30 p.m., match at Alabama. Arkansas, currently atop the division, enters the match with a 6-8 overall mark and a 4-1 SEC record while Alabama is second in the West with a 13-3 overall record and a 3-2 mark in SEC play. Arkansas has had a strangle-hold on the division winning nine of 10 titles since adding volleyball in 1994. Arkansas has also dominated the series with Bama winning 20 of 22 meetings. But the SEC is different this year and Arkansas head coach Chris Poole is quick to point that out. “Top to bottom this is the best the SEC has ever been,” said Poole. The entire league’s RPI is better and everyone but us had a winning record heading into league play. We know we played a really tough pre-season schedule and we’re just hoping that experience pays off against the SEC.” Arkansas had its hands full with a much-improved Auburn Tiger team Friday winning in five on the road. The Lady’Backs improved to 21-1 all-time against the Tigers but Auburn pushed Arkansas to a fifth game for the first time since 1996. “We were lucky to get out of there with the win,” said Poole. “Auburn had 19 service errors and that was probably one of the big differences in the match. Karla (Crose) and Jessica (Dorrell) really carried the team, especially late in the match.” Crose is the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Week and stepped up with a team-best 15 kills and 10 blocks for the Lady’Backs while Dorrell added 12 kills, hit .474 and had a career-best seven blocks in the win. The Lady’Back defense was solid in the match as Arkansas out-blocked the Tigers 19.0-9.0. But Alabama is a whole other animal. The Crimson Tide have stolen the divisional crown once from Arkansas in 2000 and enter the weekend as the favorite in the match. Alabama is in the midst of a four-match home stand and downed a struggled Louisiana State team in three on Friday. The Tide’s 12-1 season start marked the second best start in program history and senior Erin Heffner extended her double figure kill streak to 30 consecutive matches Friday. “We are certainly going to have to play better Sunday,” said Poole. “Our defense continues to keep us in matches but we have to find a way to be more efficient on offense. We are still making too many little mistakes and that will hurt us in the big matches. Alabama is going to have an intimidating atmosphere for us to play in with a big, loud crowd that sit very close to the court. They have a band and the gym is warm and dark. They have every advantage a home team should want and we are really going to have to elevate our play Sunday.” Arkansas is in the midst of a four-match road stand traveling to Georgia and No. 8 Florida next week. For more information about Arkansas volleyball log on to www.ladybacks.com.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)