FAYETTEVILLE – With three matches remaining on its regular-season schedule, the University of Arkansas volleyball team returns to action this weekend for a pair of road matches at No. 14 Tennessee and No. 16 Kentucky. Arkansas enters the weekend with an 18-10 overall record and a 10-7 tally in Southeastern Conference play. The Razorbacks are currently in second place in the SEC Western Division, just one game behind LSU.
"(Tennessee) is very physical," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "Then again, that’s no different than the Florida team we just played. I think it was important for us to play another very physical team to get us used to that level of play. I think our players realize that physicality is not an issue for us. We’re a physical team. Now we have to play like a mature team so that our physicality becomes a factor for us."
In the weekend opener, the Razorbacks will take on SEC East leader Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville with first serve scheduled for 6 p.m. (CT). Arkansas closes out its weekend Sunday afternoon against Kentucky at Memorial Gym in Lexington. The match is set for a 12:30 p.m. (CT) start.
In its last outing, Arkansas pushed No. 19 Florida to five sets on Senior Day in Fayetteville. Jasmine Norton had a match-high 24 kills while Raymariely Santos and Kelli Stipanovich each posted a double-double performance against the Gators. The Razorbacks jumped out to a two-set lead but Florida rallied to close out the match in five. Defensively, libero Christa Alvarez led all players with 14 digs and Kasey Heckelman registered a match-high five total blocks.
During last weekend’s matches against South Carolina and Florida, Norton and Stipanovich continued their respective ascent on the program’s career kills list. Norton moved up two spots and currently sits at No. 8 all-time with 1,304 career kills. With 11 kills against the Gamecocks, Stipanovich became the 12th player in program history to eclipse the 1,200-kill mark.
Tennessee (24-13, 16-1 SEC) leads the all-time series with the Razorbacks by one, 15-14. Earlier this season in a matchup in Fayetteville, the Lady Volunteers came away with a three-set victory. Arkansas is 6-6 against Tennessee in matches played in Knoxville.
Kentucky (24-4-, 15-2 SEC) holds a 16-13 advantage over Arkansas in the all-time series between the two teams. In September, the Razorbacks dropped a four-set decision to Kentucky in Fayetteville. Arkansas last won in Lexington during the 2003 season.
For match coverage including interactive blog and live stats, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com. This weekend’s matches will also be broadcast on KXUA 88.3 FM in Fayetteville. Following its weekend slate, Arkansas travels to Baton Rouge, La., for its regular-season finale, a Nov. 26 SEC West matchup against LSU.