FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas volleyball team plays at Auburn to open its weekend of Southeastern Conference action. First serve of the Western Division matchup is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Student Activities Center on the Auburn campus. The match will mark the beginning of the second go-round through the conference schedule for both teams.
"The second time through the conference is more fun because of the knowledge you gain the first time around," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "The teams know each other a little better and there’s also the sense of ‘you beat me last time, so I have to beat you this time’ or vice versa. We’re really excited to get started on this second half of the SEC schedule."
The last four matches for Arkansas (9-12, 3-7 SEC) have gone to at least four sets, including a setback to Ole Miss in its last outing. Against the Rebels, Jasmine Norton had a team-high 20 kills, her fourth 20-kill effort of the season, and Kelli Stipanovich posted her second consecutive double-double performance. Historically, the Razorback duo continues its ascent up the program’s all-time kills list. Norton is 17th with 816 kills and Stipanovich is 18th with 804 putaways.
Norton is second in the SEC with 3.87 kills per set and sixth with 0.31 service aces per set. Janeliss Torres-Lopez is third in the league with 1.20 blocks per set. In the team’s first match against Auburn, Raymariely Santos had 38 assists and libero Brooke Fournier had a team-high 16 digs.
In the first meeting between the two teams this season, the Tigers came away with a five-set victory in Fayetteville. In the loss, three Razorbacks-Norton, Santos and Kendall Cleveland-turned in a double-double performance and Torres-Lopez had a career-high 12 kills. Updating the all-time series, Arkansas still holds a 29-5 advantage. The Razorbacks have won 14 of 16 matches played at Auburn.
Auburn enters the second half of conference play with a 15-7 overall record and a 6-4 mark in the SEC. The Tigers have won four of their past six matches, including a straight-set victory over South Carolina in their last outing. On their home court at the Student Activities Center, the Tigers are 8-1 this season.
During conference play, Auburn is hitting .242 and holding its opponents to a .179 hitting percentage, the third-lowest mark in the SEC. Three Tiger attackers-Sarah Bullock (2.96 k/s), Morgan Johns (2.63 k/s) and Kelly Fidero (2.12 k/s)-average more than two putaways per set. Defensively, libero Liz Crouch is seventh in the conference with 3.93 digs per set.
Following the Auburn match, Arkansas will travel to Athens, Ga., to close out the weekend against Georgia. The Razorbacks have won eight of the 12 matches with UGA played on the Bulldogs’ home court. To follow the action, an interactive blog and live stats will be available at ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Both matches this weekend will also be broadcast on KXUA 88.3 FM in Northwest Arkansas.
Download: Notes 12_Auburn, Georgia.pdf