|Arkansas 3, Kentucky 2
|Florida 3, Ole Miss 0
|Missouri 3, LSU 0
|Tennessee 3, South Carolina 0
|Texas A&M 3, Georgia 2
Arkansas Rallies For Five-Set Win Over Kentucky
FAYETTEVILLE – Facing a 0-2 match deficit, the University of Arkansas volleyball team rallied past Kentucky in five sets (22-25, 16-25, 25-19, 25-20, 15-10) Sunday afternoon at Barnhill Arena. Jasmine Norton tied her season high with a match-best 22 kills and Roslandy Acosta registered her fourth double-double of the season with 17 kills and 20 digs, both career-high numbers.
“I’m extremely proud of the effort and character our team showed today,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “We beat a very good team. Not only did we beat a very good team but we had do it coming from two sets behind. We started a little off and our energy was all over the board. We were not executing in the first two sets. We talked about finding our collective effort and getting organized.
“We had to make a decision. Either we were going to commit to going after it to win in five or we were going to lay down and give it away. Our team committed to being great and I’m very proud of them. It was a great effort from them.”
With the victory, Arkansas improved to 19-8 overall and 10-6 in Southeastern Conference play. The team’s 19 wins are the most under Pulliza and the 10 conference wins ties the team’s output last season. Sunday’s win is the first time an Arkansas team has rallied from a 0-2 deficit since the 2008 season. For the second time this season, the Razorbacks avoided a three-match losing streak by beating Kentucky.
Raymariely Santos posted her team-leading 14th double-double of the season. The Razorback setter finished the match with 43 assists and 10 digs. Liz Fortado tallied nine kills and a .391 hitting percentage while Amanda Anderson added eight kills. Junior libero Emily Helm tied Acosta for the match lead with 20 digs and freshman Monica Bollinger established a new career best with 13 digs. During the match, Anderson recorded her 250th career block.
In the decisive fifth set, Arkansas (19-8, 10-6 SEC) raced out to a 4-1 lead. The home team held a 7-4 advantage after a tandem block from Acosta and Janeliss Torres-Lopez. From that point, Kentucky (17-10, 11-6 SEC) got no closer than two. When the teams switched sides, the Razorbacks held an 8-5 advantage.
Fortado and Norton posted back-to-back kills to push the Arkansas lead to 12-8. A kill by Anderson kept the advantage at four, 13-9, and the team arrived at match point after a UK attack error by Ashley Frazier. On the team’s second opportunity to close out the match, Kentucky’s Jackie Napper sent her serve into the net to seal the Razorback victory.
Kentucky won the first four points of the match before giving the Razorbacks their first point with a service error. Arkansas trailed by as much as five before the team started to chip away. Using a three-point push, capped by a service ace by Anderson, the Razorbacks pulled even at 15-all. However, the Wildcats won the next two points to regain control.
The visitors arrived at set point following a Lauren O’Conner kill and led, 24-19. Arkansas saved three set points with back-to-back kills from Norton and a second-contact kill by Santos. On its fourth chance, Kentucky clinched the game, 25-22, with a kill by Christine Hartmann.
The Wildcats won three of the first four points of the second set before Arkansas rallied to pull even at 7-7 after a UK attack error. With a kill on the next point by Fortado, the Razorbacks grabbed their first lead of the match. With the score tied at 12-all, Kentucky scored the next six points in the decisive move of the game. The Wildcats won the last four points to win the set, 25-16, and take the 2-0 match lead.
In the third set, Kentucky took an early advantage and led by three, 12-9, after kill by O’Conner. The Razorbacks responded with a five-point surge to take a 14-12 lead. With the score tied at 14-all, the home team scored seven of the next 10 points. During the run of points, Arkansas took advantage of five UK attack and service errors. The Wildcats made a final push to pull to within two points; Arkansas led, 21-19.
Out of a timeout called by Pulliza, the Razorbacks rattled off four straight to win the set. After a kill by Fortado on the right side, the final three points of the game came off the arm of Norton. The Razorback senior had eight kills in the game. Arkansas combined for a .325 hitting percentage in the third set.
“We came out slow and played tired in the beginning,” Norton said. “But between games two and three, we came together and said ‘hey, we’ve beaten this team before’ and we used that fire to give us confidence to finish the match.”
The Razorback carried the momentum into the fourth set, taking a 4-1 lead after an O’Conner attack error. The home team never trailed in the set but Kentucky pulled even at 11-all with back-to-back kills by Alexandra Morgan. Arkansas won the next five points to re-establish its advantage. The seven-point lead at 21-14 was the team’s largest of the set. The Wildcats got as close as four points down the stretch but, like she did in the third, Norton found the floor to win game and even the match at 2-2.
Arkansas returns to Barnhill Arena next weekend for a pair of SEC matches against Georgia and Ole Miss. For more information regarding Razorback volleyball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas volleyball through the team’s sport-specific RazorbackVB Facebook and Twitter pages.
Florida Completes Season Sweep Of Ole Miss
The No. 16 Florida volleyball team (21-4, 15-1 SEC) battled to take its 15th sweep of the season, taking a three-set win over the Ole Miss Rebels, 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-17). The Rebels fall to 10-15 on the year and 4-12 in conference action.
The Gators were led by freshman Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia), who put down 15 kills on the afternoon. Fellow freshman Berkley Whaley (St. Petersburg, Fla.) was virtually unstoppable with six errorless kills on 12 swings. Seniors Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) and Betsy Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) tallied nine and seven kills, respectively, combining for a .577 hitting clip. Smith and Wiggs also stuffed a team-high three blocks.
“The fact that today’s match was won in three sets may look like it was easy, but Ole Miss played some of its best volleyball today,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “They were swinging with no fear and certainly won the battle of the middles in the first two sets.”
On the whole, Florida hit .365 for the match, courtesy of junior setter Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.), who dished out 40 assists on the afternoon. Sophomore libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) scooped a match-high 16 digs to go along with two aces, finding a way to frustrate the Rebels’ offense by touching nearly every attack. Joining her in patrolling the back row was sophomore Holly Pole (Ocala, Fla.), who followed up her impressive performance at Missouri (12 digs) by recording nine against the Rebels.
Florida took the opening stanza, 25-22. The teams traded side-outs and the lead to start the match, with Ole Miss taking a two-point lead at 6-4. The Gators utilized a Recek back row kill and an Ole Miss miscue to take a 10-8 lead in the first. An Unroe ace and ensuing Smith kill forced Ole Miss to call timeout with Florida leading, 13-9. The Rebels fought back out of the break to tie the set at 14-all, as the Gators burned a timeout of their own.
Florida was the first to the double-decade mark at 20-17 off a Recek service ace. Ole Miss stormed back to tie the set at 20-all and scored two straight after the Florida timeout to lead 22-20. The Gators tied the set at 22-all after a Smith overpass kill and a kills by Whaley and Smith set up set point for the Orange and Blue, 24-22. An Unroe ace sealed the opening stanza for the Gators, 25-22.
Florida withstood an Ole Miss rally to take the second set, 25-22.The Gators took a two-point lead in the second set off a Wiggs kill, 4-2, and a Recek slam off the block kept the advantage, 7-5. The Rebels pulled within one, 8-7, but the Gators went on a 4-1 run as the Florida block came alive and back-to-back Mann-Wiggs stuff blocks put the Orange and Blue ahead, 12-8. Back-to-back Whaley kills put the Gators up by six, 16-10, but the Rebels fought back to pull within two, 17-15.
A Florida hitting error cut the UF lead to just one, 19-18, and a Rebel ace tied the set at 19. Recek put away an out-of-system ball to get the lead back on the Gators’ side, 20-19. Recek tooled the block at 21-20 to keep the Florida advantage and a Whaley-Smith stuff block set up set point for the Gators, 24-22, forcing a Rebel timeout. A Recek kill that nicked the sideline tilted the set in Florida’s favor, 25-22.
The Gators were firing on all cylinders in the third stanza, taking the frame, 25-17. The third set started the same as the first two, as the teams battled for the lead. Florida took a slight lead at 5-4 off a Wiggs-Smith stuff block and extended the advantage to two, 7-5, after an Ole Miss attacking error. The Gators pushed the lead to three off a Pole service ace, 9-6, but the Rebs fought to get back in the frame, tying the set at 10-all off a Gator attacking error. Florida went on a 4-0 run behind the serve of Brauneis to take a 14-10 lead and force an Ole Miss timeout.
A Smith-Brauneis stuff extended the Gator advantage to five, 18-13, and the Rebels took timeout after an Ole Miss hitting error, 19-13. A Recek kill got the Gators to the double-decade mark, 20-16, and a perfect connection on the slide between Brauneis and Smith put Florida within two of the set, 23-17. Recek rolled a kill into the campfire defense and set up match point, 24-17. An Ole Miss hitting error put the match win in Florida’s hands, 25-17.
Florida returns home for their final regular season weekend at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The Gators welcome the LSU Tigers for their first and only matchup of the season on Friday evening. First serve is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN 850/900. On Sunday, the Gators host the South Carolina Gamecocks on Florida’s Senior Day. The match, honoring Betsy Smith, Sundai Weston, and Tangerine Wiggs, will air live on Sun Sports and ESPN 850/900. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m. ET.
Florida has a three-match lead in the SEC standings heading into the final weekends of SEC play, and the Gators must win two more matches to take home the Southeastern Conference title outright. Florida can also claim the title with one more victory if SEC foes Tennessee and Texas A&M each suffer a loss next Friday evening.
Mizzou Takes Out LSU In Three Sets
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Junior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) spread 41 assists and guided the Tigers to .374 hitting as the Mizzou volleyball team swept LSU, 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-14), on Sunday afternoon (Nov. 9). The win for Mizzou came against an LSU team that had won three straight SEC matches and five of its last six. The win improves Mizzou to 18-9 overall and 9-7 in SEC play and keeps the Tigers in the running for a possible NCAA Tournament berth.
"I thought we played really well again today and I really think we have been playing some of our best volleyball of the season over the last week and a half or so," head coach Wayne Kreklow said. "Sundays are really tough on the road teams in this league and I think LSU is probably disappointed, but this is a big win for us. I thought we did a great job of coming out in the third set staying aggressive and we really took control of the match."
As mentioned earlier, Molly Kreklow was outstanding on Sunday, spreading 41 assists (13.67 per set) while tallying five kills on six errorless attacks with two aces, three digs and a pair of blocks as she continued her impressive play as of late. Mizzou's offense was as balanced as it has been all season as every Tiger hitter had at least 14 attempts and no Tiger had more than 24 as Kreklow kept LSU off balance all day.
Kreklow's classmate Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) was very efficient on Sunday as well as she was the beneficiary of some great setting by Kreklow. Henning finished the sweep with 15 kills on just 25 attacks. Freshman Regan Peliter (Nixa, MO.) added eight kills on .263 hitting while Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) posted seven kills on just 18 attacks. The middle hitting duo of Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) and Lydia Ely (St. Louis, Mo.) added a combined 12 kills on .545 hitting. Both had six kills in the match while Ely had her six kills on just eight errorless attacks.
Defensively, Mizzou was dominant at the net, posting 11.5 total blocks in the match. Little finished the sweep with six blocks (two solo, four assists) as she continues to lead the SEC in blocking. Henning added five blocks and Ely pitched in three more as the Tigers slowed LSU's Desiree Elliott on Sunday. The LSU middle had 19 kills in the meeting between the two teams in Baton Rouge but was limited to just four on .182 hitting on Sunday. Libero Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) led Mizzou with 11 digs in the sweep.
Mizzou was on fire in the first set, tallying 18 kills on .324 hitting as Kreklow was sensation quarterbacking the Tiger attack. In fact, she finished the set with 16 assists, seven of which went to Henning, as Mizzou ran away with the opening frame, 25-18. Little, Wilson and Ely combined for eight kills and just one error on 14 attacks in the opening frame as well. Meister pulled in four digs in the set.
Following that frame the second set was much sloppier, but Mizzou pulled out another 25-18 win thanks in large part to its defense. In fact, Mizzou limited LSU to .000 hitting with just eight kills and eight attack errors. Mizzou accounted for six total blocks in the set, led by four from Little in the second set alone (two solo, two assists). Mizzou hit .308 in the frame.
The Tigers came out of the intermission and fell behind, 2-0, before jumping all over LSU offensively. In fact, Mizzou tallied 17 kills on .484 hitting in the final frame as it took the clinching set, 25-14.
The Tigers will continue their push towards an NCAA Tournament berth next weekend as they head to Texas A&M and Mississippi State in their final SEC road weekend of the season. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.
Tennessee Handles South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team won its fifth consecutive match and completed the season sweep of the South Carolina Gamecocks with a 3-0 (27-25, 25-16, 25-18) win in Columbia, S.C., on Sunday afternoon.
Tennessee, which has now won nine consecutive matches against the Garnet and Black, improves to 19-6 overall and 12-4 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Gamecocks fall to 16-13 overall and 4-13 in league action.
"I'm very proud of the team going on the road again and getting two wins this weekend against two teams that play really well at home," said head coach Rob Patrick. "South Carolina really has a great offense so our goal was to try and slow them down a little bit and our players did a wonderful job of getting stronger as the match went on."
Junior outside hitter Kelsey Robinson posted a match-high 17 kills and added 10 digs for her third straight double-double. Redshirt senior DeeDee Harrison added 12 kills and hit an even .500 in the match, while sophomore Olivia Okoro finished with a career-best 10 kills. Leslie Cikra and Kayla Jeter rounded out the balanced offensive attack by combing for 11 kills.
"We've been working all year long in trying to get a little bit more balance in our offense," said Patrick. "Kelsey has been a huge force for us offensively - her entire career not just today - but we really want to get some diversity in our offense. We've been able to do that over the last couple of weeks and our middles - DeeDee and Olivia - are doing a wonderful job of presenting themselves in transition."
Defensively, Harrison led the Big Orange at the net with four blocks, while sophomore setter Mary Pollmiller added three. Junior Ellen Mullins supplied the Lady Vols with multiple chances by posting 18 digs in the match for an even 6.0 scoops per set. Pollmiller added 11 digs, while freshman setter Bianca Arellano added seven. Both sophomore defensive specialist Nikki Brice and Jeter contributed six scoops each. Tennessee finished the match with 60 total digs.
"Mary did a great job of distributing the ball to all of our hitters," Patrick said. "When you have five players with 15 attempts or more it's great."
"Ellen has really progressed through her career at Tennessee and that's something we really pride ourselves in is that players really get better as they go through it," said Patrick. "Ellen is one of the most coachable ladies that you'll ever have and a very hard worker. I love to see somebody that is willing to work hard and then see the fruits of their labor out on the court."
The Orange and White, which improves to 8-0 on Sundays and 10-2 on the road with the win this season, hit .280 in the match and held the Gamecocks to a .089 attacking clip.
The Lady Vols jumped out to a 7-2 lead on the Gamecocks in the opening set, but quickly had their lead erased as South Carolina leveled the match at 13. From that point on, the frame consisted of 10 ties and four lead changes as the game came down to the wire. South Carolina forced a set point opportunity at 24-22, but a Robinson kill and a SC error leveled things up at 24. Okoro came up big late in the set, putting down a kill to put UT up 25-24 and then followed with the set-winner to give the Big Orange a 27-25 first set victory. Okoro and Robinson combined for 11 kills in the opener, while Pollmiller dished out 15 helpers.
Tennessee hit a blazing .485 in the second set and cruised to a 25-16 victory behind a well-balanced offensive attack. The Lady Vols committed just three attacking errors on 33 attempts and had 19 kills in the set. Harrison and Robinson led the way with five kills each, while Cikra put down four. UT outdug the Gamecocks 17-10 in the set, which included eight from Mullins. The Orange and White were able to sideout 82 percent of the time in the second frame. Robinson, Harrison and Cikra hit .444, .667 and .800, respectively in the second game.
Behind a Harrison and Jeter block, the Lady Vols took a 1-0 lead to start the third after the break and would never look back. UT, which led the set by as many as 10, went on to win by a 25-18 margin to secure the sweep. Robinson recorded six kills and seven digs in the third and Harrison added four kills and two blocks to lead the Lady Vols.
Tennessee returns home after a four-match roadswing to conclude the 2012 regular season at home with four matches. The Lady Vols will host Auburn in the first meeting of the season in what will be Coach Patrick's 500th career match at Tennessee on Friday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.
Texas A&M Downs UGA In Five
ATHENS, Ga. - Texas A&M erased a 2-0 match deficit, rallying for a 15-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-18, 15-10 win over Georgia Sunday afternoon at the Ramsey Student Center.
It was the sixth consecutive victory for the Aggies, who improve to 21-5 on the season and 13-4 in SEC play after getting key contributions from several players who came off the bench and made numerous clutch plays in the comeback win.
Georgia came out looking determined to snap its four-match losing skid, scoring the first four points of the match and handily leading the entire first set as A&M made numerous errors and struggled to get in sync. The Bulldogs, who outhit the Aggies .406 to .139, built their largest lead at 24-15 as A&M hit into the net. A&M manage to stave off three set points before Lauren Teknipp put down the closing kill for Georgia.
Georgia used a 7-1 run to build a 12-7 lead in the second set. The Bulldogs later held a 20-17 advantage when a kill by Tori Mellinger from the right side began a four-point run by the Aggies. A&M setter Allie Sawatzky followed with an ace, as her serve skimmed the back line. Mellinger then tooled the block for another kill and then teamed with Stephanie Minnerly for a block that gave the Aggies a 21-20 advantage. The lead was short lived as A&M committed three consecutive attack errors to hand the Bulldogs a 23-21 lead. Georgia then hit long and Aggie freshmen Shelby Sullivan and Sierra Patrick combined for a block that tied the score at 23-all. The Bulldogs, who outhit A&M .270 to .250, would come back with consecutive kills to close out the 25-23 win and take a 2-0 lead in the match heading into the break.
Sullivan, who for the last several matches has typically been coming in to serve for the Aggies, started the third set at middle blocker and got A&M started on the right foot with an aggressive kill on the slide attack. Mellinger followed with an ace, and the Aggies kept the lead for the remainder of the set.
A&M used a three-point run to build its largest lead at 13-8. Georgia would pull within two points four times before the Aggies' Alisia Kastmo posted back-to-back kills and Ashley Vrana, who came in off the bench for the first time at 19-16, hammered a kill down the block to give the Maroon and White a 21-16 lead. Georgia countered with two points, but Vrana got a kill to keep A&M ahead, 22-18. The teams exchanged sideouts, with a Georgia attack error putting the Aggies at set point. Mellinger then put down a kill to win the set.
With the score tied 3-3 in the fourth set, Vrana had back-to-back kills and also teamed for a block during a 5-0 surge that put A&M ahead, 8-3, and gave the Aggies a lead they would not lose. Georgia stayed within striking distance at 13-10 when A&M erupted for six unanswered points behind strong net play by Kastmo and Lindsey Miller, as well as Sullivan's aggressive serving. The Bulldogs, who were outhit .325 to .171 in the stanza, later scored three unanswered points to get within 23-18, and A&M coach Laurie Corbelli called a timeout. The Aggies came back onto the court and immediately got a kill by Sullivan. Mellinger then stepped to the service line and served a ball that went untouched before hitting the back line for an ace to clinch the 25-18 win and even the match at two sets apiece.
Georgia held a 2-1 lead early in the deciding fifth set when Sullivan and Sawatzky had back-to-back kills to give the Aggies the lead. Although the Bulldogs would tie the score at 3-3 and 4-4, A&M would never trail for the remainder of the match. Vrana broke the 4-4 tie with her career-high seventh kill, and Mellinger followed with a kill down the line. Kelsey Kinley then served an ace to cap a 3-0 run that put the Aggies up, 7-4. Georgia got within 7-6, but Sawatzky prevented the tie as she attacked the second ball for a kill. Libero Megan Pendergast followed with an ace to put the Aggies up, 9-6. Georgia then got a kill, but after teaming with Sawatzky for a block, Sullivan went solo on the next play to put the Aggies up, 11-7. The freshman then posted her third consecutive block, teaming with Kastmo. Georgia, trying to avoid Sullivan's dominating block, hit long on the ensuing play to give A&M a 13-7 lead.
Georgia's next attack hit off the high hands of the A&M block for a kill to end the rally. The Bulldogs then blocked an A&M attack to get within 13-9 before Mellinger got a kill off the block to put the Aggies at match point. Georgia, which was outhit .300 to .091 in the frame and .240 to .216 in the match, posted a kill before Sullivan ended the match with her career-high eighth kill of the match.
Kastmo led all players with 16 kills. Mellinger had a double-double with 13 kills and 11 digs, which put her in solo possession of third place in the A&M records with 1,414 career digs.
Sawatzky also finished with a double-double, posting 49 assists and a career-high and team-high 20 digs. Pendergast also reached double figures in digs with 15.
Miller posted a season-high and match-high seven blocks to lead A&M to a 13-10 advantage in blocks.
The Bulldogs had four players reach double figures in kills, including Briana Bahr's team-high 13. Libero Allison Summers led all players with 21 digs for Georgia, which falls to 13-13 overall and 7-9 in the SEC.
The Aggies return to Reed Arena on Friday for their final home match of the regular season, playing host to former Big 12 Conference foe Missouri. First serve against the Tigers is slated for 6:30 p.m. at Reed. A&M's five seniors - Alisia Kastmo, Tori Mellinger, Lindsey Miller, Stephanie Minnerly and Megan Pendergast - will be honored following the match.