FAYETTEVILLE – In a rare week with just one match, the University of Arkansas volleyball team will host Ole Miss Friday evening at Barnhill Arena. First serve of the SEC Western Division matchup is scheduled for 7 p.m. Fans in attendance for the match can enter a drawing for a Nintendo Wii which will be given away during the break between games two and three.
"Our players are starting to figure some things out in terms of our system," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "They know what needs to happen during this second half of the SEC schedule to be successful."
Arkansas (12-13, 6-8 SEC) enters the match riding a three-match winning streak, the team’s longest since opening the season with a 5-0 record. The Razorbacks have won three of four during the second half of the conference schedule. In its last match, Arkansas knocked off Mississippi State to complete a weekend sweep and post its first straight-set victory of the SEC slate.
On the season, Jasmine Norton leads the team and is second in the SEC with 3.96 kills per set. She has at least 20 kills in three of Arkansas’ last five matches. Raymariely Santos, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, averaged 12.43 assists per set last weekend in directing the Razorback offense. Charmaine Whitmore has also emerged as a steady presence at the net with 1.64 blocks per set during the team’s three-match winning streak.
In the first match this season between Arkansas and Ole Miss, the Rebels came away with a four-set victory on their home court at the Gillom Sports Center in Oxford. Norton had 20 kills in the match and Kelli Stipanovich added a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs. Amanda Anderson had 11 kills on a .409 hitting percentage. Defensively, Brooke Fournier paced the team with 17 digs and Janeliss Torres-Lopez had four total blocks.
"Ole Miss is having a great year," Pulliza said. "They are very balanced at the net and work very hard. I always measure a team’s competitive edge by digs and they are No. 1 in the conference in digs per set so, as far as I’m concerned, they are the most competitive team in the conference."
Ole Miss (17-6, 11-3 SEC) sits in second place in the Western Division and are receiving votes in the most recent release of the AVCA national poll. The Rebels have won eight of their last nine match, including a four-set victory over South Carolina in their last outing.
The Rebels’ Regina Thomas is the SEC’s top attacker with her .421 hitting percentage and is second in the conference with 1.16 blocks per set. Whitney Cravens leads Ole Miss with 3.00 kills per set. Behind the block, the defense is paced by libero Morgan Springer who averages 4.65 digs per set, the third-best mark in the SEC.
The Razorbacks still lead the all-time series, 23-10. To follow the action through the Internet, a live stream, interactive blog and live stats will be available at ArkansasRazorbacks.com. The match will also be broadcast on KXUA 88.3 FM in Northwest Arkansas.
Download: Notes 14_Ole Miss.pdf