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OXFORD, Miss. – It was the seniors who rose to the occasion Wednesday night, as the Ole Miss volleyball team took down visiting Alabama 3-1 (25-21, 16-25, 25-20, 25-14) at the Gillom Sports Center on senior night.
Senior libero Ashley Veach and senior setter Amanda Philpot each finished with double-doubles on the night. Veach recorded a team-high 23 digs to go with her career-high 11 assists, while Philpot finished with a team-high 41 assists and 12 digs. It was the first double-double of Veach’s career, and was the 12th this season for Philpot. Senior right side hitter Allegra Wells finished with a team-high 14 kills and three block assists in the victory.
“Obviously, on senior night, the seniors stepped up and we came away with a good victory,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “On a senior night, for them to perform in front of their families always means a lot to them. I’m just really proud, and hopefully we can do that again Friday evening.”
Ole Miss (12-16, 6-13 Southeastern Conference) finished with three players reaching double figures in kills, as freshman middle blocker Ty Laporte and junior outside hitter Kara Morgan each had 10 to join Wells in double figures. Senior outside hitter Kiley Sherman recorded a season-high tying six kills on a career-high .545 attacking percentage. Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, Nakeyta Clair, had nine kills, two solo blocks and five block assists for the Rebels.
Ole Miss led for much of the first set en route to winning 25-21. The Rebels were led in the opening frame by Philpot’s 12 assists and six digs, and Laporte’s five kills. Morgan tallied two of her team-high four service aces in the opening frame as well. Morgan now has 30 aces this season, the most ever by a Rebel in a single season during the rally scoring era.
After falling in the second set 16-25, Ole Miss responded with a 25-20 victory in the third. The Rebels got five kills from Morgan in the third set, along with 10 assists from Philpot and five digs from Veach. As a team, Ole Miss hit at a .353 mark in the third set.
It was all Rebels in the fourth set, as Ole Miss raced out to an early 10-4 lead and never let up en route to an emphatic 25-14 match-clinching set victory. Veach recorded nine digs in the final set to bring her total up to 23. It was the second consecutive match for Veach with at least 20 digs. Veach now has 447 digs this season, the second most in Ole Miss single-season history.
Ole Miss honored eight seniors Wednesday night, including Ashley Anderson, Whitney Craven, Courtney Cunningham, Philpot, Sherman, Veach, Wells and manager Nick Quillen.
Ole Miss will close out the 2012 season at home Friday with Texas A&M (23-5, 15-4 SEC), which is coming off a thrilling five-set victory at Tennessee Wednesday night. The match against the SEC West Champions will begin at 7 p.m. CT. Texas A&M is currently receiving votes in the latest AVCA Coaches’ Top 25, and is No. 18 in the latest NCAA RPI. During the match, Ole Miss will be hosting the second annual Black Friday Extravaganza, where fans can enter to win exciting prizes, including a 32-inch LCD HDTV.
In its first matchup against the Aggies, Ole Miss lost 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-16) in front of 1,981 fans at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas. Philpot had a double-double in the match, recording 28 assists and 12 digs, while had a team-high 12 kills.
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, including live stats, recaps and results, go to OleMissSports.com. Follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and go to Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
Gators Pick Up 3-1 Win at Auburn
AUBURN, Ala. -- The No. 15 Florida volleyball team (24-4,18-1 SEC) survived a feisty Auburn squad on Wednesday night, taking a 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-9, 25-20) victory over the Tigers at the Student Activities Center.
Florida was led offensively by junior middle blocker Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.), who hit an errorless .560 with 14 kills on 25 swings to go along with a career-high eight blocks, including five in the third set alone. Mann hit above .500 for the 13th time this season and continues to lead the conference in hitting percentage (.436).
Sophomore libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) led the backrow charge with 19 digs, averaging a whopping 4.75 digs/set. Unroe passed a near-perfect match on serve receive and set a new season high with six assists against the Tigers.
“There was high level volleyball on both sides, as one would expect this late in the season,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “The defense that Auburn displayed and how gritty they are, our team had to match them both physically and emotionally. The difference in the match, in addition to our blocking, was the defense of Taylor Unroe.”
Freshman phenom Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) turned in her ninth career double-double with 17 kills and 13 digs, while seniors Betsy Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) and Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) added seven and six kills, respectively.
Sophomore defensive specialists Madison Monserez (Orlando, Fla.) and Holly Pole (Ocala, Fla.) turned in eight scoops apiece. Monserez and Pole were both responsible for sparking many scoring runs, as the Gators were aggressive behind the service line throughout the match.
Junior setter Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) dished out 45 assists on the night, serving up a match-high three aces against the Tigers.
Friday was the 18th time this season that a Gator opponent had been held to hitting less than .200 and the 11th time that Florida has turned in double-digit team blocks (11.0).
Freshman outside hitters Berkley Whaley (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Gabby Mallette (Orange Park, Fla.) combined for six kills on Wednesday in Mallette’s return to the court after missing three weeks due to illness.
The teams battled to open the frame but Auburn held a slight advantage through the bulk of the set, using a 3-0 Tiger run to lead 8-6. After 21 straight sideouts between the teams, Florida was able to tie the set at 19-all behind the serve of Monserez. Recek used kills from Wiggs and Brauneis to pull within one, down 18-17. Recek slammed one through the seam of the Tiger block, sparking a 5-0 Gator run with Pole behind the service line, forcing an Auburn timeout with Florida leading 22-19. The Gators earned a set point off a Recek kill but Auburn scored two straight to force a Florida timeout at 24-23. The Orange and Blue went back to their bread and butter, as Recek nailed a kill off the block to give the first set to the Gators, 25-23.
Auburn jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second stanza before Florida settled and strung together four straight points with Pole behind the service line, tying the set at 5-all. A Mann-Recek block tied the frame at 8-8, and the Gators began to pull away courtesy of a Wiggs kill and ensuing Tiger attacking error. Kills by Recek and Mann put the Gators ahead, 17-14, forcing a Tiger timeout. The teams traded side outs and an Auburn attacking error forced the Tigers’ second timeout of the set with Florida leading 21-17. Auburn began to cut away at the Florida advantage, pulling within two at 22-20. Out of the break, Florida looked to halt the Auburn momentum with a Mallette kill but the Tigers scored five straight to tilt the frame Auburn’s way, 25-23.
Florida came out on fire in the third, jumping out to a 6-0 lead behind the serve of Brauneis, who served up two aces in the streak. Recek then stepped behind the service line to get the Gators on a run of their own, scoring five straight to lead 11-3. An Unroe service ace forced a Tiger timeout with the Gators ahead, 13-3, and Florida continued to roll, as Brauneis and Mann stuffed an Auburn attack to go up 17-7. A Brauneis dumped kill gave the Gators a 19-8 lead and a Mann-Wiggs roof put Florida ahead, 21-8. Mann and Wiggs teamed up again for the stuff, this time on set point to give the Gators the third set victory, 25-9.
The Gators got out to a 6-1 advantage in the fourth frame, forcing an Auburn timeout. A Smith-Wiggs stuff block put the Gators up, 8-5. After Auburn cut their deficit to two points at 11-9, Florida went on a 4-0 run to make it 15-9. A Brauneis-Smith roof got the Gators to the double-decade mark at 20-12, but Auburn rolled off four straight to cut UF's lead to 20-16, forcing a Gator timeout. Mallette slammed a kill down the line out of the break to halt the Tiger tear, and a Smith kill put the Gators within three of the match, 22-18. Auburn scored two straight but Florida didn’t falter, as Brauneis served up an ace to give the Gators match point, 24-20. Mann used an offspeed roll shot to put the match in the Gators’ hands, taking the fourth frame, 25-20.
Florida will travel on the Thanksgiving holiday to Athens, Ga., as the Gators take on the Georgia Bulldogs at 7 p.m. ET on Friday night to close the 2012 regular season. The match between the Gators and the Bulldogs will air live on GeorgiaDogs.com and can be accessed for free. Gator fans can listen live to Cory Stephens call the match live on ESPN 850/900.
For all of the latest information on Florida volleyball, please log on to www.gatorzone.com/volleyball or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow Florida volleyball on Twitter at @GatorZoneVB or www.twitter.com/GatorZoneVB and Coach Mary Wise on Twitter at @GatorMary or www.twitter.com/GatorMary. You can also find the Gators on Facebook.
Helm's Career-High 27 Digs Help Arkansas Past LSU in Four
BATON ROUGE, La. – Behind a pair of double-double performances from Roslandy Acosta and Jasmine Norton, the University of Arkansas volleyball team registered a four-set win over LSU (25-22, 25-13, 23-25, 25-12) Wednesday evening in Baton Rouge, La. Norton finished the night with a match-high 15 kills and 10 digs, while Acosta totaled 11 kills and 12 digs. With the win, Arkansas improves to 22-8 overall and 13-6 in Southeastern Conference play.
The Razorbacks’ win was the program’s first in Baton Rouge since the 2004 season. Amanda Anderson added 12 kills and a match-high five total blocks, while junior libero Emily Helm tallied a career-high 27 digs. The Razorbacks out-dug LSU, 73-59. Janeliss Torres-Lopez finished the match with seven kills on a .545 hitting percentage to go along with four total blocks.
“We knew we would have to be on top of our game tonight against a very good LSU team,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “We prepared ourselves with the quick turnaround from Sunday’s match and it paid off tonight. I’m excited about where our team is right now.”
With the score tied at 4-all in the first set, the Razorbacks won six of the next seven points to double up LSU (12-17, 8-12 SEC), 10-5. Arkansas kept the advantage with another surge of points—this time a 5-0 run—to push its lead to 16-8. Out of the Tigers’ second timeout, the Razorbacks maintained their lead and were the first to 20 after consecutive kill from Acosta.
The Tigers began to rally back, pulling to within three before Norton thumped a shot down the line to bring Arkansas to match point at 24-20. LSU won the next two points but on the team’s third chance to close out the set, Anderson and Norton combined for a block to clinch the opener, 25-22.
As was the case in the first set, the team played to an even start before the Razorbacks reeled off four of five points to take a 10-6 lead. The visitors extended their lead to 16-7 after an LSU attack error. Back-to-back miscues by the Tigers pushed the Arkansas lead to double-digits, 22-12. On the Razorbacks’ first set point, Torres-Lopez and Liz Fortado teamed up for the game-winning block.
In the third set, LSU played with a lead for a majority of the set. With the Tigers leading 13-10, Arkansas put together a three-point run to pull even. During the stretch, the Razorbacks picked up a kill and service ace from Norton. However, the home team re-established its momentum and stretched its lead to 19-15 after a block. Arkansas pulled to within one on three occasions before LSU clinched the game, 25-23.
The Razorbacks took an early 5-2 lead in the fourth set after a service ace from Ashley Vazquez. Santos tallied an ace of her own to give Arkansas an 8-4 lead and force LSU into its first timeout of the set. Holding on to a three-point lead, the Razorbacks rattled off the next seven points to take a 20-10 lead. Torres-Lopez and Kasey Heckelman combined for another block to give Arkansas a 23-12 lead. Two points later, an LSU attack landed out to secure the match.
The Razorbacks close out their regular season Friday afternoon at South Carolina. First serve of the match is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. (CT) in Columbia, S.C. Arkansas leads the all-time series with the Gamecocks, 20-9 and has won eight of 13 on South Carolina’s home floor. The two teams last met in 2011, a straight-set win for the Razorbacks in South Carolina.
For continued coverage of Razorback volleyball or other University of Arkansas athletics, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas volleyball with the team’s sport-specific RazorbackVB Facebook and Twitter pages.