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    SEC Volleyball Today: August 28

    Arkansas 3, Tulsa 0
    Alabama 3, Alabama A&M 0

    Razorbacks sweep Tulsa in midweek match
    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Jasmine Norton and Roslandy Acosta had 14 and 10 kills, respectively, and the Razorback defense tallied 65 digs in a straight-set win (25-22, 25-22, 25-18) over Tulsa Tuesday evening at Barnhill Arena. Libero Emily Helm led the defensive charge with 22 digs—14 of those in the second set—against the Golden Hurricane, while three Razorbacks had at four total blocks.
    In the win, Norton and Raymariely Santos each posted a double-double performance. On a night when she reached 1,400 career kills, Norton added 11 digs for her third double-double of the season. Santos had 28 assists and 13 digs against Tulsa. Acosta registered a career-high .562 hitting percentage (10-1-16) in the match.
    “Tuesday matches are always tough coming off an emotional weekend,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “There’s always that possibility of a letdown on a Tuesday match but our players were ready in practice and with their preparation. They were ready when the whistle blew which I’m really proud of because there was no letdown. They are certainly hungry to keep getting better.”
    Trailing by five early in the first set, Arkansas (4-0) scored nine of the next 12 points and took a 12-11 lead on a kill out of the middle by Janeliss Torres-Lopez. The Razorbacks extended their advantage to 17-14 after a TU attack error which forced the visitors into their first timeout of the match. After back-to-back kills from Tulsa (2-2), the Arkansas lead was down to two, 22-20. Norton responded with a pair of kills, and on the team’s second set point, Kasey Heckelman found to floor on a slide attack to clinch the opener, 25-22.    
    After the teams traded points early in the second set, the Razorbacks used a quick push to take a 9-6 lead on a kill by Acosta. Arkansas maintained its lead throughout the set but the Golden Hurricane pulled to within one at 19-18 after an attack error from the home team. The Razorbacks responded with a five-point streak to separate and arrive at set point. After four straight points from Tulsa, Norton ended the set with her sixth kill of the game. Arkansas went into the locker room with another 25-22 set win.
    In the third set, the score was tied four times through the opening stages of the game before the Razorbacks used a three-point run to take control of play. The push was capped by a tandem block from Torres-Lopez and Santos. A kill off the right side from Liz Fortado pushed the lead to 13-10 and forced a visitor’s timeout. The lead remained steady and reached five, 22-17, after consecutive TU hitting miscues. On the team’s first match point, Fortado and Torres-Lopez teamed up for a block to seal the set, 25-18, and close out the match.
    “I thought we played really well defensively,” Helm said. “It was a start to how we want to define ourselves as a team with our defense. Everyone contributed tonight and that helped us get the win.”
    The Razorbacks hit the road this weekend for the adidas/Michigan Challenge in Ann Arbor, Mich. In addition to Arkansas, the tournament field will include Central Michigan, Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) and host team, No. 22 Michigan. This will be Arkansas’ first road trip of the season. The team returns to Barnhill Arena next Tuesday for a regional matchup with Oklahoma.

    Alabama Volleyball Rolls Over Alabama A&M in Three
    Tuscaloosa, Ala. – The Alabama volleyball team made quick work of the Alabama A&M Bulldogs in the 2012 home opener on Tuesday night from Foster Auditorium, posting a 3-0 victory over the in-state opponent. Individual set scores for the match were 25-11, 25-11, and 25-12. With the victory, the Tide improves to 3-1 on the season while the Bulldogs drop to 0-4 to start the year.
    “We clearly were a lot more consistent offensively and we were at a percentage that we felt is acceptable,” second-year head coach Ed Allen said of the victory. “Our ball control still needs some work, so we can improve there. Defensively our blocking was the best that we have seen to this point in the year, but our back court defensive could improve. It was a consistent effort and the scores show that 25-11, 25-11, and 25-12. We did well."
    Alabama put on a show for the 1,014 fans at Foster Auditorium for the home season opener, as 13 of the 15 players saw action in the match. The Tide collected 45 kills, while hitting at a .356 clip. On the defensive side, UA held the Bulldogs to a -.091 hitting percentage, as AAMU had just 14 kills, while committing 22 errors, as the Tide had a season-high 11 blocks.
    For the third straight match, junior outside hitter Andrea McQuaid hit over .400, posting a .412 mark with seven kills on 17 attempts with no errors. Pricilla Duke-Ezeji paced the Tide with eight kills. From the middle blocker position, Alabama got a total of 18 combined kills, as Katherine White had seven, Kanesha Burch had six and Leigh Moyer added four.
    Freshman setter Sierra Wilson played another solid match for Alabama, posting 35 assists to go along with a kill and five digs. Yukie Futami eclipsed the 20-dig mark for the third straight match, as she posted a game-high 23 digs.
    Alabama returns to action on Friday when they begin action in the Elon Phoenix Classic against North Carolina Central at 3:30 p.m. CT. The Tide closes out the tournament on Saturday with matches against Gardner-Webb and Elon at 9 a.m. CT and 6 p.m. CT, respectively. There will be a live audio broadcast for all three matches available for free through TIDETV on