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Western Division matchup in season finale

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Western Division matchup in season finale

FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas volleyball team will close out its 2010 season with a home match Wednesday evening against No. 17 LSU. First serve of the Southeastern Conference contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CT) at Barnhill Arena. Fans in attendance can enter a drawing for an XBOX 360 with the winner announced during intermission between games two and three.

"LSU is a very good team" head coach Robert Pulliza said. "Right now, they are playing for seeding in the NCAA Tournament which means they will come very motivated to play. It’s a very good opportunity for our kids to play a good team and measure where we are and where we want to be."

Arkansas enters the season finale with a 14-16 overall record and an 8-11 mark in SEC play. Both win totals represent program highs for the team under the watch of Pulliza. In their last outing, the Razorbacks notched a four-set victory over South Carolina behind a career-best 22 kill from Janeliss Torres-Lopez and a .444 team hitting percentage in the match-clinching fourth set.

For her efforts over the weekend, Raymariely Santos was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for the second time this season, earning her third weekly conference honor overall; she was named the league’s top defender following a match against Ole Miss earlier this month. Historically, Kelli Stipanovich has moved into 16th place on the program’s all-time kills list with 877 career putaways.

In the first meeting this season between Arkansas and LSU, the Tigers posted a four-set win on their home court in a match nationally televised by ESPNU. Stipanovich had 11 kills with a .407 hitting percentage against the Tigers while Jasmine Norton tallied a team-high 12 kills. With the win, LSU extended its win streak against the Razorbacks to 10 matches though Arkansas still leads the all-time series, 22-13.

The Tigers enter Wednesday’s meeting with a 24-4 overall record and a 15-4 mark in conference play. With a win over South Carolina last weekend, LSU clinched its sixth straight Western Division title. Offensively, the team is led by setter Brittney Johnson, averaging an SEC-best 10.78 assists per set, and outside hitter Angela Bensend. She is second in the conference, behind Norton, with 3.79 kills per set.

"I really want to see us work as a cohesive unit," Pulliza said. "I want to see our system, both on the offensive side and the defensive side, be crisp and consistent. That comes from collective effort, something we’ve been working really hard at."

Doors at Barnhill Arena open one hour prior to the start of Wednesday’s match. Fans can follow the action with a live stream, interactive blog and live stats at ArkansasRazorbacks.com. In addition to those features, the match will also be broadcast on KXUA 88.3 FM in Northwest Arkansas.

Download: Notes 17_LSU.pdf



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)