About ArkansasThe University of Arkansas remains atop the Southeastern Conference Western Division standings after three divisional wins over LSU, Alabama and Auburn this week. The Lady’Backs have won five in a row and 10 of their last 12 matches. The Lady’Backs host Oral Roberts in a non-conference match Tuesday and travel to Tennessee and South Carolina this weekend.
Prime TimeThe Lady Razorbacks are on television for the second time this year when they travel to Columbia, S.C., facing the Gamecocks. The match will air on FOX Sports Net South (FSN) live at 12:00 p.m. Central time. Arkansas’ match at No. 10 Florida was also carried live on Sunshine Network earlier this year.
The Road to the SEC Tournament (from the SEC Office)
|#7 South Carolina||4-8||.333|
|#8 Mississippi State||4-8||.333|
|#11 Ole Miss||2-10||.167|
Tie-breakers:1) Head-to-Head competition2) Game Differential in SEC games3) Points scored in SEC gamesNotes:South Carolina (181-159 Point Differential) over Mississippi StateAuburn 3, Kentucky 1
Haaser has triple double for ArkansasSenior Jennifer Haaser helped Arkansas return to the win column with a pair of victories last weekend. Haaser sparked a comeback against SEC Eastern Division rival Kentucky on Friday with 15 kills including seven in the final two games to lead the comeback. Haaser had three tide-turning blocks in the final frame for the win. Haaser again stepped up Sunday in a non-conference come-from-behind win over Valparaiso. The Lady’Backs again won the first game, dropped the second and third and had to fight to win the fourth and fifth. Haaser recorded a rare triple double for Arkansas with 16 kills, 12 digs and 11 blocks. Haaser recorded 18 blocks in the two matches while Arkansas’ opponents tallied 18.5 together as a team. Haaser collected seven digs and two blocks in the final two games leading Arkansas.
Haaser part IIThe Fort Smith, Ark., senior stepped up again Tuesday with a double-double recording 10 kills and 10 blocks while hitting .368 in one of the most complete matches by the Lady’Backs this year. For the year, Haaser is hitting .239 with 3.04 kpg and .288 with 2.39 kpg in conference matches.
About Oral RobertsThe Golden Eagles enter the week with a 15-11 overall record and a 7-3 mark in the Mid-Continent Conference. ORU has also won 10 of its last 12 and is currently second behind Valparaiso, a team Arkansas defeated this year, in the league standings. Ori Zuzic leads ORU with 480 kills and 5.11 kills per game. She is hitting .229 in all matches and .256 in Mid-Continent matches this year. As a team the Golden Eagles are hitting just .205 but averaging 18.04 digs per game.
Arkansas versus the Golden EaglesThe Lady Razorbacks own a 7-5 series edge over Oral Roberts and have won the last seven meetings. Arkansas downed ORU last year in Fayetteville in three and have won the last three meetings in straight sets.
About Tennessee (from utladyvols.com)A 30-25, 30-24, 31-29 sweep at Kentucky on Friday night gave the No. 16 University of Tennessee volleyball team its 11th SEC win, breaking the school record for conference wins, previously set when last year’s squad went 10-6 in SEC play. The Lady Vols now have an 11-1 league mark, just behind Florida’s 12-0 SEC record. UT’s overall 21-2 mark is its second-best record after 23 matches in school history (the 1973 squad went 22-1 in its first 23 matches).Statistically, Tennessee has been strong hitting .280 as a team with 17.53 kills per game and 2.51 blocks per game. Kristen Andre leads the team hitting .400 with 3.97 kpg and a team-best 298 kills this year.
Arkansas versus the Lady VolsArkansas holds a 12-3 series edge over Tennessee but the two teams meet with the Lady Vols ranked for the first time in 11 seasons. Arkansas has won the last five meetings and is 4-1 in Knoxville.
About South CarolinaSouth Carolina has had an up-and-down year this season similar to the Lady’Backs in 2004. They have lost four in a row (two to ranked teams) and have just one SEC win at home (Mississippi). Shonda Cole leads the team with 298 kills and 3.92 kills per game while the team is hitting .206 on the year.
Arkansas versus the GamecocksThe South Carolina-Arkansas match has emerged as one of the biggest rivalries for the Lady Razorbacks. Arkansas has a 10-5 series edge and has won the last two meetings in three games.
The Magic NumberArkansas has eight regular season matches remaining including four conference matches and four non-conference contests. Arkansas’ remaining league matches include Tennessee and South Carolina from the East as well as LSU and Mississippi State from the West. The non-conference contests are against Oral Roberts and Southwest Missouri State before the SEC Tournament and Texas Christian and Southern Methodist after the tournament.
About Those 8 MatchesArkansas’ remaining eight matches are not walks in the park. The Lady’Backs face a 17th-ranked Tennessee team on its home court, and have matches with several much-improved teams including LSU, Auburn and Mississippi State. Topping the remaining schedule is, of course, 16th-ranked Tennessee who is 10th in Rich Kern’s version of the RPI (www.richkern.com). Arkansas travels to South Carolina (51) and has a home match with LSU (42). Southwest Missouri State (58), Texas Christian (74), Mississippi State (115) and Oral Roberts (159) also remain on the schedule.
Home Court AdvantageThe Lady Razorbacks like to play at home. Barnhill Arena has been good to Arkansas with the team owning a 124-26 record in the first 10 seasons of play. Arkansas is 8-4 this year brining the team’s total to 132-30 heading into the ORU match. The Lady’Backs have three of their remaining eight matches at home (one conference and two non-conference).
About Chris PooleThe Lady Razorbacks have known only one coach in the program’s history – Chris Poole. Since accepting the head coaching job at Arkansas Poole and the Lady’Backs have won nine of the first 10 SEC Western Division titles and reached the SEC Tournament finals eight times winning in 1997. Poole and the Lady’Backs have amassed a 262-111 all-time record and a 132-32 SEC record (prior to the ORU match). Poole’s career record has grown to 496-180 in 18 seasons with a 197-36 all-time record in conference play.
Jennifer Haasers Career Records WatchLone senior Jennifer Haaser continues to climb in the career records lists. She currently ranks eighth for kills with 1,161. Here’s a quick look at some of her other numbers heading into the ORU match: 13th in kills per game (2.61), eighth in attack attempts (2841); 16th in hitting percentage (.238); eighth in service aces (100); second in service attempts (1424); 11th in digs (684); third in block solos (90); third in block assists (501), third in total blocks (591); fourth in blocks per game (1.33) and seventh in points (1601.0).
The Rest of the TeamSome of Haaser’s teammates are also climbing the career charts. Here’s a few notables: Dentiza Koleva is 14th in kills (600); Kele Brewer is 16th in kills (531); Karla Crose is 19th in kills (343); Iva Docekalova is fifth in assists (824); Amanda Eskridge is seventh in assists (368); Docekalova is seventh in aces (102), fourth in sapg (0.31), first in service attempts (1601), 13th in digs (613); Crose is 19th in block solos (10), 16th in block assists (185), and tied for 17th in total blocks (195).
About the SEC TournamentThe University of Florida hosts the 2004 Southeastern Conference Tournament at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla., Nov. 19-21. The single-elimination tournament will feature the top eight teams in the conference as they vie for the SEC crown. Seeding for the tournament will be as follows: The tournament will be seeded 1-8 regardless of division, based on conference winning percentage.
Freshman ImpactIt’s rare at this level to have the majority of your starting lineup be freshmen but, at times, that’s what Arkansas sees when it looks onto the court. The Lady’Backs are using setter Amanda Eskridge, hitter Jessica Dorrell and libero Ashley Miller all as starters or significant players. Eskridge is running a 6-2 offense along with junior setter Iva Docekalova while Dorrell subs on the left side for the Lady’Backs. Miller is the starting libero and has been for much of the year.
How the West was wonArkansas finds itself on top of the SEC Western Division standings for the fifth consecutive week after wins over Bama and Auburn last week. The Lady’Backs at 9-3 in the SEC, have wins over four divisional teams (Mississippi, Mississippi State, Auburn (2x) and Alabama (2x)) this year. Alabama is second in the West with a 6-6 record followed by LSU at 5-7. Mississippi State is 4-8 in the league ahead of Auburn, 3-9, and Mississippi, 2-10.
Dorrell dominates the Heart of DixieFreshman Jessica Dorrell played well in Alabama last weekend helping Arkansas to wins over Auburn and Alabama. Dorrell paced Arkansas with 12 kills and hit .474 while recording a career-best seven blocks at Auburn. She stepped up again at Alabama with 13 kills, a .667 hitting percentage and two blocks leading the Lady’Backs to the four-game win. She hit .568 for the weekend in one of her best all-around series.
Big block continues for Lady’BacksArkansas started the season statistically slow and is still struggling with its hitting percentage. The block, however, has been a lifesaver for the Lady’Backs this year. Arkansas has tallied 160.0 blocks in conference for a 3.40 block per game average in SEC play. They have 269.5 total blocks in all matches with a 3.10 bpg average.
More about the blockArkansas has recorded double-digit blocks in 15 of the team’s 22 matches this year. The Lady’Backs made it five in a row in all five SEC wins with a then-season-best 20 blocks against Mississippi Oct. 1. The Lady’Backs nearly matched that mark with 19.0 at Auburn. Arkansas posted a new season-best with 21.5 against Valparaiso.
High pointsFreshman Jessica Dorrell recorded the highest individual hitting percentage this year with a .667 mark at Alabama. Dorrell tallied 13 kills, one hitting error and had 18 attempts in the win. Senior Jennifer Haaser is in the number two spot with a .522 mark against Ball State and Dorrell is again third with a .474 mark at Auburn.Sophomore Denitza Koleva holds the season-best mark for kills in a match with 23 against Pacific earlier this year and is also this year’s leader for total attempts with 51 against Houston. Junior Iva Docekalova holds the season-best mark for assists in a match with 68 set against Pacific before Arkansas switched up the offense from a 5-1 to a 6-2. Freshman Ashley Miller holds top honors for digs with 26 against Houston, and Haaser leads the team with five service aces against Kansas in the first match of the year. Junior Karla Crose holds three of the top four marks this year in blocks. She, along with Haaser, have each recorded 12.0 blocks in a match this year.
Arkansas picked to defend Western titleThe University of Arkansas volleyball team was selected to defend its Southeastern Conference Western Division title in a vote of the league’s coaches. Arkansas has dominated the Western Division winning nine of 10 possible titles. The Lady Razorbacks have been selected to win the West in 10 of 11 preseason polls earning nine first place votes and tallying 58 points. (See page two for the complete SEC preseason poll.)
Up NextThe Lady’Backs host Alabama, Auburn and Oral Roberts beginning Oct. 29.