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    SEC Volleyball Today: October 19

    volleyBALL RESULTS
    Arkansas 3, Kentucky 0
    South Carolina 3, Mississippi State 0
    Tennessee 3, Texas A&M 0
    Florida 3, Alabama 0
    LSU 3, Auburn 1
    Ole Miss 3, Missouri 1


    Razorbacks sweep Kentucky in Lexington
              
    LEXINGTON, Ky. – Behind a .330 hitting percentage, the University of Arkansas volleyball team knocked off Kentucky in straight sets (25-23, 25-23, 25-20) Friday evening at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington. The Razorbacks’ win snapped a 10-match skid against Kentucky and was the program’s first win on the Wildcats’ home floor since the 2003 season. With the win, Arkansas improves to 15-6 overall and 6-4 in Southeastern Conference play.

    The Razorbacks were paced by a match-high 16 kills from Jasmine Norton and 14 kills from Roslandy Acosta. From her setter position, Raymariely Santos notched her 12th double-double of the season with 33 assists and a season-high 15 digs. The team also got eight kills from Amanda Anderson and seven from freshman Liz Fortado who did not commit an error in 13 attacks. Led by Santos’ defensive efforts, Arkansas had five players with at least four digs.

    “We were a great unit tonight,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “We’ve talked about that being our strength: having strength in numbers, playing hard and playing together. We lost a little bit of that and got comfortable for about a week but the character of a team shows after a defeat. We showed tonight that we have great character.”
                
    The Razorbacks took the early lead and had a one-point advantage when Kentucky went on a four-point run to take a 19-16 lead. Out of a timeout by head coach Pulliza, Arkansas scored two quick points to close the deficit and eventually took the lead, 22-21, on a kill by Norton. The Wildcats evened the score at 23-all, but Arkansas tallied the final two kills of the set from Anderson and Acosta to clinch the opener. The Razorbacks registered a .371 hitting percentage in the first set.
                
    The second set played out almost exactly like the opener with the teams battling to a 13-13 tie. Kentucky jumped out to a 10-4 lead before the Razorbacks began to cut into their deficit and eventually pull even on a kill by Norton. From that point, the score was tied five times with the final occurrence coming at 23-all. Acosta gave Arkansas set point with another kill and a UK attack error on the next point sent the visitors into intermission with a 2-0 match lead.
                
    In the third set, Arkansas carried the momentum back onto the floor and jumped out to a five-point lead. Norton powered through the Wildcat block to give the Razorbacks an 11-6 lead and force a timeout from UK head coach Craig Skinner. Arkansas pushed its lead to 15-8 after a service ace from Monica Bollinger. Facing a seven-point deficit, Kentucky scored five in a row to pull to within two but the Razorbacks responded to regain a five-point advantage, 20-15.

    Fortado gave the team a handful of match points with her first career service ace. Kentucky saved the first with a kill out of the middle, but on the next play, Santos delivered the ball out to Norton who put the ball away to secure the road victory.
                
    The Razorbacks return to action Sunday afternoon for their weekend finale against Mississippi State. First serve of the Western Division matchup is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (CT) at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville. In the all-time series between Arkansas and Mississippi State, the Razorbacks own a 32-5 advantage and have won three straight. Last season, Arkansas posted a pair of straight-set victories.

    For weekend match coverage, including interactive blog, live stats and audio stream, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Razorback volleyball this season with its sport-specific RazorbackVB Facebook and Twitter pages.
     

     




    Gamecocks Roll Past Mississippi State in Three Sets
                    
    MISSISSIPPI STATE, Miss. – South Carolina (15-7, 3-7 SEC) posted a dominating sweep at Mississippi State (4-15, 0-10 SEC), taking the sets 25-9, 25-15, 25-9, at Humphrey Coliseum on Friday night.

    Gamecock junior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin posted a match-best 15 kills without an error, hitting .556 in the contest. Freshman middle blocker Darian Dozier set a personal best with a .600 hitting percentage on a career-best tying 10 kills. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Cara Howley had a career-best five of the Gamecocks’ nine aces, a season best for South Carolina, while junior libero Paige Wheeler led everyone with 16 digs. Outside hitters Jenna Allen and Bethanie Thomas added 14 and 13 digs, respectively. Senior setter Taylor Bruns compiled 35 assists and nine digs.

    Lainey Wyman led Mississippi State with eight kills. Alex Scott and Chanelle Baker tied for the Bulldogs’ best with 11 digs.

    The Gamecocks took the first set 25-9, hitting .476 and not letting the Bulldogs get consecutive points in the frame. Thévenin posted six kills on six swings to lead the way. Howley had three aces in the nine-point stand that blew open the set.

    South Carolina won the second 25-15, getting seven kills from Thévenin without an error. A four-point stand that included two points from both Thévenin and Thomas made it 13-6, and the Gamecocks ended the frame with a 5-1 run, a Howley ace capping it. Allen added five kills in the frame, and Wheeler had seven digs.

    The third set also went to the Gamecocks, 25-9. Dozier and fellow rookie middle blocker Elizabeth Johnbull combined for nine kills in the frame. South Carolina’s defense held Mississippi State to a .000 hitting percentage in the set.

    The Gamecocks hit .402 in the win, while the Bulldogs hit just .074. The Gamecocks also won every stat category.

    The Gamecocks end the Magnolia State swing on Sunday at Mississippi. The match starts at 1 p.m. EDT, and Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) will televise the contest. It may also be found on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN app.
     



    Baker Leads Lady Vol Sweep at Texas A&M
     
    COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Led by sophomore outside hitter and Texas native Tiffany Baker, the Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team extended its Southeastern Conference winning streak to five matches with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-21) sweep at Texas A&M on Friday night at Reed Arena.
     
    The win improves the Big Orange to 14-5 overall and 7-3 in conference action, while a loss drops the Western Division leading Aggies to 15-4 and the same 7-3 mark in SEC play.
     
    “I was really proud of the team,” said 16th year head coach Rob Patrick. “To come into Texas A&M – which has a tremendous program, is leading the Western Division and has a very well-coached program with great athletes – and play as hard as we did and defend the way we did against one of the top offensive teams in the conference… I was very pleased with that.”
     
    Junior outside hitter Kelsey Robinson became the fifth Lady Vol in program history to eclipse the 1,000 mark in career kills and digs in the match. Robinson, who posted 14 kills and nine digs, joins Tennessee greats Nikki Fowler, Kristy Dobson, Stephanie Ehlers and Sonja Thomas in the exclusive club.
     
    “I’m really proud of Kelsey,” said Patrick. “She means so much to our team both offensively, defensively, as a leader and just somebody that’s passionate about the game. She has done this over and over again in her career. She means so much to our team. I’m really happy for her. She definitely deserves to be in that 1,000/1,000 club.”
     
    Baker led the Big Orange attack with a match-high 15 kills and a blazing career-best .636 attacking clip. The 6-foot-4 Carrollton, Texas, native had just one error on 22 attempts to lead UT. Led by Baker, the Lady Vols hit .381 in the match, marking the squad’s highest total in SEC play this season.
     
    “Tiffany Baker had a tremendous match,” said Patrick. “She was able to hit out of the back row and the front row and did a fantastic job blocking. She played a great low-error match and was able to lead us offensively.”
     
    Defensively, the SEC Player of the Week Ellen Mullins stepped up once again, posting 18 digs for an even average of 6.0 scoops per set. The junior libero has 115 digs over the past five matches for an average of 5.48 per set. Sophomore setter Mary Pollmiller also added 10 digs to UT’s 57 total scoops and dished out an impressive 46 assists to notch her 10th double-double of the season. Pollmiller averaged 15.33 assists per set in the match.
     
    “Again, six digs a game – she (Mullins) averaged six a game last week – she’s playing at an All-American level,” Patrick said. “She is one of our best passers and able to keep our back row consistent. She provides our offense with a lot of opportunities to score points. I’m really happy for her. She has put so much work in over the last few years and one of the most-coachable kids we’ve ever had.”
     
    Redshirt senior Kayla Jeter added nine kills for the Lady Vols, while another Texas native, Olivia Okoro, played her best match to date. Okoro contributed a career-high seven kills and hit at a career-high .462 attacking clip.
     
    The opening set went back and forth between the two sides, but the two Texas natives came up big for Big Orange in the first. Baker and Okoro combined for 10 kills and hit a scorching .667 and .800, respectively, in the game. The two paced the Lady Vols to a .444 attacking percentage and a 25-21 opening set victory. The set consisted of seven ties and two lead changes, but Tennessee broke it open late with a 5-2 run. Robinson added four kills and four digs as UT outdug the Aggies, 18-12, in the game.
     
    With her first dig of the set, Robinson became the fifth Lady Vol in program history to join the exclusive 1,000-kill and 1,000-dig club for her career. The outside hitter and the Lady Vols continued their stellar defensive play in the second set, outdigging A&M by a 25-20 margin. Mullins scooped nine balls in the set to lead UT. The set consisted of loads of runs on both sides of the net, as Tennessee used an 8-1 stretch to take a 14-7 lead and a 5-0 skid to go up 19-10 later in the game. Texas A&M had a pair of 3-0 stretches, but it was not enough as the Lady Vols took the frame by a 25-19 margin.
     
    Carrying the momentum out of the break, Tennessee hit an even .500 in the potentially deciding third set to cruise to a 25-21 victory and sweep the Aggies. The Lady Vols used a 6-0 run late in the game to take a commanding 20-14 lead and never looked back. Robinson and Baker had seven and six kills, respectively, and hit .538 and .556, respectively.
     
    The Lady Vols return home after three straight road matches on Friday, October 26 when they welcome SEC rival Kentucky to Thompson-Boling Arena. First serve between the Big Orange and Wildcats is scheduled for 7 p.m.
     




    No. 11 Gator Volleyball Defeats Alabama, 3-0, to Take 13th Straight Victory

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 11 University of Florida volleyball team continued its unbeaten streak in conference play, as the Gators (16-2, 10-0 SEC) swept the Alabama Crimson Tide in three sets (25-19, 25-16, 25-14) on Friday night at Foster Auditorium.

    Florida has won 13 straight matches dating back to its four-set defeat at the hands of then-No. 7 Stanford at the Nike Big Four Classic. Alabama falls to 14-8 on the year and 3-7 in SEC play.

    "Tonight was one of those matches I was a little concerned about coming into because we only play Alabama once and they've been playing well all year," Florida head coach Mary Wise said. "They're dangerous at home and they have a great atmosphere. They're just going to get better and better."

    Junior middle blocker Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.) had a stellar night for the Orange and Blue, tallying a match-high 13 kills with just one error for a .750 hitting percentage. Friday night was Mann's eighth match of the season hitting above .500 and the Gainesville native is now hitting a remarkable .435 on the year.

    The Gators held the Tide to just .036 on the night, the lowest hitting percentage for a Florida opponent since Oct. 9, 2011 vs. LSU (.027). The Orange and Blue hit .405 on Friday, the second-highest hitting percentage in SEC play for the Gators. Junior setter Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) dished out 37 assists on the evening, adding three kills and four digs.

    "Once again, Taylor Brauneis did a superb job distributing the ball tonight," Wise said. "I also think Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) had one of her best matches of the year with 18 digs. A year ago, a lot of the balls she dug up tonight would have been kills. She's getting three-option passes on a lot of those hard-hit balls. Alabama would try not to hit to her and would end up hitting into our block."

    Florida held Alabama's Kayla Fitterer, one of the best hitters in the SEC, to just four kills and a .154 hitting percentage on the night. Overall, Florida has held their opponent to less than .200 in 13 matches in 2012.

    "I have to give a lot of credit to (associate head coach) Dave Boos and (volunteer assistant coach) Karl Miller for their work with the defense this week," Wise noted. "I think Taylor (Unroe) had one of her best matches tonight in a Gator uniform."

    Recek led all players with a match-high 14.0 points, her 10th match of the season leading the Gators in that category.

    "She's been so good for us in all aspects of the game," Wise commented. "All of our opponents try to pick on her because she's a six-rotation outside hitter but I think she handles the pressure really well. I think something she was really good at tonight that won't show up in a stat sheet was her block set-up. She was able to force Alabama to hit right to our back row defense. She did a great job tonight."

    The teams battled to open the set with the Crimson Tide taking a slight lead in the early going, 4-3. The Gators used an Alabama miscue to build the momentum on their side, going on a 6-1 run behind the serve of Recek. Bama burned a timeout in an attempt to slow the Florida run but the Gators continued to roll, leading by as many as seven at 15-8. The Tide began to chip away at the Florida advantage, as the Gators called timeout with a three-point lead at 18-15. Florida quickly righted the ship and rattled off three straight points behind the serve of Recek to get within four points of the set, 21-15. Recek put away the match for the Gators, 25-19.

    The second stanza was tight from the outset, as the teams combined for seven ties and two lead changes. A 5-1 run got the Gators to a 14-10 lead and forced a Tide timeout. Brauneis kept the Alabama defense guessing, distributing the ball pin-to-pin and helping the Gators get to 20-12, courtesy of a dumped kill. Back-to-back kills by Mann put Florida at set point and a Crimson Tide attack error gave the Gators a 25-16 set victory and a 2-0 lead in the match.

    The third set started similarly to the first two but the Gators soon went on a 6-0 run to lead 11-8 and force a Tide timeout. Brauneis served up an ace and her tricky jump float led to a Mann overpass kill, 16-10. Florida continued to push, using back-to-back kills from Mann and Smith in the middle to lead 20-13 as Alabama called their second timeout of the set. Unroe slammed an ace on the back line to lead, 22-13, and put the Gators within three of the match. Back-to-back Smith-Wiggs stuff blocks gave the Orange and Blue match point and the match, 25-14.

    The Gators travel to College Station, Texas on Sunday for a nationally-televised matchup with SEC West leader Texas A&M. First serve is set for 2 p.m. ET on ESPNU. The Aggies fell 3-0 to the Tennessee Lady Vols on Friday night, extending the Gators' lead in the SEC race to three matches.
     




    LSU Grinds Out 3-1 Victory at Auburn
     
    AUBURN, Ala. – Meghan Mannari sprawled out for a career-high 40 digs, while Jackie Gerig provided a superb performance off the bench with 22 assists and three kills to lift the LSU volleyball team to a hard-fought 3-1 win at Auburn [25-22, 32-30, 22-25, 25-20] at the Student Activities Center.
     
    LSU (9-11, 5-6 SEC) picked up its 22nd consecutive victory over Auburn (13-7. 4-6 SEC) and handed the homestanding Tigers their first home setback of the season. With the win, LSU also moved into sole possession of third place in the SEC Western Division standings.
     
    LSU battled its way to a .142 to .130 hitting percentage edge and a 14-10 advantage in the blocks department. Despite Auburn holding a 62-51 lead in kills, LSU’s defense forced Auburn into 36 hitting errors and 10 service miscues.
     
    “What a gritty performance by Jackie,” head coach Fran Flory said. “Honestly, she hasn’t had a lot of reps in the starting lineup at practice. It was quite the impressive performance for her to come in and lead us to win the way she did. Our football team has the saying ‘next guy up’, Jackie did a fabulous job of carrying the load for us tonight. I couldn’t be any prouder or happier for her.”
     
    The 40 digs for Mannari were the second-highest total in program history for a single match. Former All-American Elena Martinez recorded 43 scoops during a 3-2 triumph at Alabama during the 2007 season.  
     
    Helen Boyle, Madie Jones and Desiree Elliott garnered double digit kills for the 10th straight match. Boyle ripped 13 kills and 10 digs to collect her eighth double-double of SEC play. She also equaled a career-best with four blocks. Jones powered home 12 kills and moved to within 10 spikes of reaching 1,000 for her career, while Elliott popped 11 kills to go along with six blocks.  
     
    Cati Leak chipped in six kills, 11 digs and four blocks whereas Madi Mahaffey totaled four kills and four blocks in her second start of the season. In her two-plus sets of action, Malorie Pardo distributed 19 assists and added 11 digs to join Boyle with eight double dips in SEC action. The League City, Texas, native became the eighth player in program history to eclipse 2,000 career assists.
     
    On the back row, Sam Delahoussaye corralled seven digs. It ended a career-long 11-match run for Delahoussaye in double figure digs dating back to September 8. She also crept to within eight scoops of becoming the 13th player to notch 1,000 career digs.
     
    Auburn was fueled by Sarah Bullock’s 17 kills and 24 digs in addition to Camila Jersonsky’s 15 kills on a .414 hitting clip and six blocks. Katherine Culwell slapped 15 kills and 15 digs, while Chelsea Wintzinger passed out 30 assists and tacked on 15 digs en route to double-doubles.
     
    LSU concludes its brief road trip Sunday at Kentucky, who is receiving votes in this week's edition of the AVCA Top 25 poll. First serve is set for 12:30 p.m. CT inside Memorial Coliseum, and a free live audio webcast is available at LSUsports.net/live.
     
    Admission to all 2012 home matches at the Maravich Center are free compliments of the Advocate's “Geaux Free” program. LSU's next home match is scheduled for Friday, October 26 versus SEC newcomer Texas A&M at 7 p.m.
     
    At every home match, LSU will be collecting pet supplies at the fan zone as part of its "PAWS in the PMAC" campaign to benefit the Capital Area Animal Welfare Society.
     




    Ole Miss Volleyball Takes Down Missouri 3-1
     
    OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss volleyball team (9-10, 3-7 Southeastern Conference) recorded its third highest attacking percentage of the season (.320), and defeated Missouri 3-1 (25-17, 25-21, 19-25, 25-21) in front of an electric crowd Friday night at the Gillom Sports Center.
     
    Three Rebels reached double figures in kills, led by Kara Morgan’s team-high 19, and four other Rebels recorded double-digit digs, including Ashley Veach’s team-high 17. Senior setter Amanda Philpot registered her eighth double-double of the season with a season-high tying 47 assists and 15 digs, and freshman middle blocker Nakeyta Clair had a season-high 13 kills, three solo blocks four block assists.
     
    “Credit to the kids,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “We had some heart to hearts this week and the team responded well and realized what we have to do. It’s always great to play at home too.
     
    “Nakeyta has been stepping up in practice and has looked great, but has just looked uncomfortable in game situations. Tonight she broke through, so it was great to see that.”
     
    Freshman middle blocker Ty Laporte followed up her season-high 20-kill performance last week at Georgia, with a 13-kill effort against Missouri. Freshman defensive specialist Evan St. Laurent had a season-high 16 digs, while sophomore Rachael McLamore had 11. Freshman outside hitter Seini Moimoi had the best match of her young career, finishing with nine kills against the Tigers.
     
    Ole Miss jumped out to a quick start Friday night against Missouri (14-6, 6-4 SEC), taking the first set 25-17. Clair made her presence known in the opening game with five kills and a pair of block assists. The Rebels attacked at a .421 clip in the set and led throughout.
     
    The Rebels never trailed in the second set, holding a tie with Missouri just once at 1-1. Philpot passed out a dozen assists, and the Rebels hit at a .344 clip.
     
    Missouri got back into the match with a 25-19 win in the third set where they committed just two errors.
     
    Ole Miss wrapped up the match with a drama-filled fourth set where the Rebels and Tigers were tied 11 times. With the score tied at 20-20, Ole Miss put the final touches on the match by scoring five of the final six points to grab its third conference victory of the season. Morgan and Laporte fueled the Rebels with seven and five kills, respectively, and Philpot passed out 15 assists.
     
    Ole Miss will take the court at the Gillom Center again Sunday at 1 p.m. CT against South Carolina (15-7, 3-7 SEC). The match will be televised by Comcast. The Gamecocks will be playing their second consecutive match in the Magnolia State after defeating Mississippi State 3-0 (25-9, 25-15, 25-9) on Friday night.
     
    On Sunday, three fans will be selected to compete for a $100 gift card to the Rebel Shop located at the Gillom Center. One fan will also have the opportunity to win cash in the Renasant Bank Cash Cube.
     
    Ole Miss defeated South Carolina 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-23) on the road Sept. 30. Ole Miss had a balanced attack against the Gamecocks, with four players recording seven or more kills, but no player with more than eight. Philpot led the Ole Miss attack with a match-high 24 assists, seven kills and six digs. It was Ole Miss’ third straight 3-0 victory against South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks, as a team, rank in the top four of the SEC in hitting percentage and assists.
     
    “South Carolina is a very dangerous team. With us going in and sweeping them, we have to be very careful we don’t become complacent with them,” Getzin said. “I have a lot of respect for their team and coaching staff and I know that they’re going to come in ready to play.”