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Volleyball on the road this weekend

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Volleyball on the road this weekend

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team hits the road for the final trip of the 2008 season this weekend. Arkansas plays at Mississippi State Friday at 7 p.m., followed by a Sunday match at Alabama at 1:30 p.m. as the season winds down. The Razorbacks open the Southeastern Conference weekend with the Bulldogs, a team similar to Arkansas and one that the Razorbacks have beaten once this year. “Mississippi State is dangerous at their place,” said Arkansas head coach Robert Pulliza. “They are known for their serving and we must pass well if we want to be successful.” Mississippi State has struggled lately losing 12 in a row. The Bulldogs last win came Sept. 28 with a five-set victory over Auburn. The Bulldogs are hitting .130 on the year and the Razorbacks have a statistical advantage in nearly every category. Ioana Demian leads the team with 226 kills, 2.96 kills-per-set and a .158 hitting percentage. Demian, however, did not play well in the first meeting with Arkansas, netting just six kills, six digs and hitting .037. Faith Steinwedell lead MSU against Arkansas with 12 kills and a .320 hitting percentage. Arkansas leads the all-time series with the Bulldogs 27-3. The Razorbacks lost three in a row prior to notching a three-set win over State in Fayetteville Oct. 12. The win over Mississippi State Oct. 12 was the fifth of six victories for Arkansas this year. Arkansas hit .308 in that contest paced by 10 kills from Yun Tang who hit .412 for the contest. Arkansas out-blocked State 7-6 and had more kills, 41-28, in the win. Kelli Stipanovich hit .467 with nine kills and Christina Lawrence led the team with 11 digs. State hit just .080 in the match with 12 kills from Steinwedell. Arkansas faces the Crimson Tide Sunday in the final road contest of 2008. Alabama is coming off a big five-set win against Georgia last Sunday. The Crimson Tide are paced by Brooks Webster who leads the team with 357 kills, 4.01 kills-per-set and is hitting .259 for the year. The Tide have the statistical advantage in nearly every category but Arkansas leads Alabama in blocking at this point in the season. Arkansas is 25-6 all-time against the Crimson Tide. The Tide have won the last three meetings including a four-set win in Fayetteville Oct. 10. “Alabama got a big win against Georgia last Sunday but they have been a bit up and down lately,” said Pulliza. “Brooks Webster is a phenomenal player and leads not only Alabama but the SEC in kills-per-set. She’s tough to contain. “That being said,” Pulliza continued, “we’re looking to go into both of these places and play well. We want to leave it all out on the court and see what happens. This team has hung in there well despite our results. It has been up and down but they have never quit. We’re looking to put together a good run to close out the season on a positive note.” The Razorbacks conclude the 2008 season at home hosting LSU Nov. 21, Georgia Nov. 22, and have Ole Miss Nov. 29 on Senior Day.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)