NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Arkansas lost its first match of the season Tuesday night, dropping a three-set decision to Oklahoma at McCasland Field House in Norman. With the loss, the Razorbacks fall to 3-1 on the young season. Offensively, the team was paced by junior Meredith Hays and senior Hayley Koop with 13 and 10 kills, respectively. Senior libero Emily Helm had a match-high 18 digs behind the Arkansas block.
With her fifth assist of the match, senior Raymariely Santos reached the 3,000-assist mark in her career. Hays was on the receiving end of the milestone assist. Santos is just the third setter in program history to reach the 3,000 mark, joining the short list that includes Tina Rico (1994-97) and Ning Zhao (1998-99). Santos finished the match against the Sooners with 22 assists and now has 3,017 in her career.
Following tonight’s match in Norman, the Razorbacks return to Fayetteville for a Thursday matchup with Kansas at Barnhill Arena. First serve of the regional meeting is set for 7 p.m. (CT) at Barnhill Arena. In completion of the home-and-home series, Arkansas will then travel to Lawrence to face the Jayhawks on Saturday.
Sets one and two were mirror images of each other with the home Sooners pulling away late to take a 2-0 match lead into the locker room. In the opener, the Razorbacks trailed by as many as eight points before rallying to even the score at 20-all. Oklahoma built a lead as large as seven in game two but Arkansas rallied to trail by just one at 20-19 after a five-point surge. Koop was responsible for four of the five points during the second-set run. However, the home team came through in both sets with identical scores of 25-22.
In the third set, neither team built more than a one-point lead until Oklahoma took an 11-9 advantage. The Razorbacks responded immediately with consecutive kills from Hays and Summer Morgan to draw even on the scoreboard. A three-point lead by the Sooners—18-15—was cut to one after kills from freshman Danielle Harbin and Hays. As they did in the previous sets, the Sooners pulled away late. Arkansas saved one match point with a kill out of the middle by freshman Ana Sofia Jusino but OU took the next point to win the set and clinch the match.