– The University of Arkansas volleyball team pushed its winning streak to four Sunday afternoon with a three-set win (25-23, 25-13, 25-15) over Missouri at Barnhill Arena. The Razorbacks registered a season-best .407 hitting percentage in the win. Roslandy Acosta
had 12 kills to lead a trio of double-digit performers. Defensively, libero Emily Helm
had a match-high 10 digs and Janeliss Torres-Lopez
led all players with six total blocks.
“I thought we played really well today,” head coach Robert Pulliza
said. “Looking at the numbers, not only do they show we played well but it shows we played like a team. When you hit really high offensive numbers, in terms of kills and averages, it’s all a collective effort. I thought we were a great unit today. Down the stretch, every win is a good win. I have great respect for Missouri and what they do. I’m proud of our kids for showing up today and getting it done.”
In her first career start with the Razorbacks, junior setter Ashley Vazquez
dished out 38 assists to lead Arkansas (18-6, 9-4 SEC) to its season-best offensive performance. Sunday’s match was Arkansas’ eighth of the season with a .300 or higher hitting percentage; four of those have come during the conference season. The Razorbacks also tied their season best with seven service aces, including two each from Helm, Jasmine Norton
and Amanda Anderson
In the first set, the two teams battled back-and-forth and were tied at 14-all—the 10th tie of the set—after a Missouri service error. The Razorbacks won eight of the next 10 points to take a 22-16 advantage. The run of points was capped by a Norton kill. The home team reached set point—24-21—on a kill by Anderson. The Tigers saved two set points but on the team’s third chance, Norton found the floor with another kill to clinch the opener, 25-23. Anderson and Norton each finished Sunday’s match with 10 kills.
Helm opened the second set with consecutive service aces to give the Razorback an early lead. Arkansas turned a 4-3 score into a 12-4 advantage after back-to-back blocks featuring Torres-Lopez. Out of a Missouri timeout, the home team increased its lead to double-digits—15-5—with a kill on the right side by Liz Fortado
. The cushion reached as high as 13 points. Torres-Lopez registered the final two kills of the set to give Arkansas a 25-13 win and 2-0 match lead.
During the second set, the Razorbacks played error free on the offensive side. The team put down 16 kills on 27 swings, without an attack error. That added up to a .593 hitting percentage for Arkansas. With only 10 attack errors during the match, the Razorbacks also tied their season low for hitting miscues.
With the help of a couple of Missouri miscues, the Razorbacks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third set. Arkansas went on to double up its opponent—10-5—with a block by Torres-Lopez and Vazquez. The home team forced a Missouri timeout after three straight kills pushed the lead to 20-12. Later in the set, Torres-Lopez found the floor to give the Razorbacks another 10-point lead at 23-13. On the team’s second match, Acosta notched her final kill to close out the set, 25-15, and the match.
“We’re all training hard because you never know when you’ll have to step in,” Vazquez said. “When it was my chance Friday, I was nervous but I was also ready. I had to step up and the team carried on helping me through it. Today, we did a good job and I’m really proud of all the girls.”
Following this home stand, the Razorbacks return to the road next weekend for matches at Auburn and Texas A&M. For continued coverage of Arkansas volleyball, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Sunday’s match will be broadcast this weekend on KXUA 88.3 FM in Fayetteville. Fans can also keep up with Razorback volleyball this season with its sport-specific RazorbackVB Facebook and Twitter pages.