Arkansas downs GSU in final
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FT. WORTH, Texas — The University of Arkansas volleyball team played to a Saturday split in tournament action at the TCU Invitational in Ft. Worth, Texas, Saturday. Arkansas (1-2) split Saturday’s tournament play falling in the first contest to Loyola Marymount (1-1) in three and defeating Grambling State (0-3) in three sets, 25-11, 25-9, 25-15. “It was definitely a very good weekend for us,” said Arkansas head coach Robert Pulliza. “It might not show in the win-loss column but we’ve been focusing on performance and when we break down the numbers we made forward progress. We travel tonight and have a full day of rest on Sunday. We want to get in a good day of practice Monday and get ready for UTA on Tuesday.” The afternoon match saw Arkansas dominate the Lady Tigers from the first serve of the opening set. Arkansas out-hit GSU .430-negative .012. Paced by 11 kills from sophomore Kelli Stipanovich, Arkansas’ balanced attack included seven kills from Jasmine Norton, Amanda Anderson and Kristin Seaton. Arkansas got 11 digs from sophomore Phoebe Bautista and five blocks from Anderson in the win. For the weekend, Arkansas was paced by Norton and Stipanovich with 32 kills each. Anderson added 30, hit a team-leading .436 and had 12 blocks. Bautista had a team-high 49 digs followed by 27 from Norton and 21 from setter Lindsay Scanlan. In the first set, Arkansas and Grambling State were tied at four when the Razorbacks made their move. Arkansas went on a seven-point run that forced the Lady Tigers to burn both timeouts to try and halt the scoring. But the Razorbacks continued the dominating play closing the set with a 9-4 run winning 25-11. Arkansas hit a season-best .520 for the set with five kills from Stipanovich and four kills from Norton. The Razorback defense held GSU to a .048 hitting percentage with only six kills for the frame. Arkansas didn’t waste any time in the second set either running out to a 10-3 lead as GSU called a timeout. Arkansas had six kills and was hitting .364 in the set at that point, holding GSU to one kill, one error and a zero hitting percent. By the mid-point of the second set, Pulliza had cleared the bench and everyone had played. Freshman setter Cassie Clarke and freshman defensive specialist Katelyn McCarthy, both Arkansas natives, both saw significant minutes. The second set saw the teams tied at two when Arkansas exploded to close the set with a 23-7 run in a nearly flawless performance. Arkansas hit .304 in the set with 10 kills and was hitting .417 for the match. GSU was much better in the third set limiting their unforced errors and taking advantage of Razorback miscues to keep the score close through the first 10 points of the stanza. The Razorbacks were able to regain their rhythm rattling off points on kills from Kendall Cleveland, Anderson and Stipanovich quickly taking the 15-11 lead and not looking back. The Razorbacks were sluggish in warm-ups and it carried over to the first set as Arkansas fell, 16-25, to LMU in the early morning contest. The Razorbacks hit just .194 and committed 11 unforced errors. Anderson paced Arkansas with four kills and a .500 hitting percentage but the Razorbacks were out-hit and out-dug in the set. LMU’s tough serve continued to keep Arkansas off balance in the second despite a better effort by the Razorbacks. Arkansas battled its own serving demons giving away three points on service errors as the unforced errors continued to mount. Arkansas showed a lot of fight in the third set. The final set was back-and-forth until LMU made a run to close the match with the win. The third set had six ties and a lead change but Arkansas couldn’t steal the win. Anderson led the Razorbacks with 10 kills and a .600 hitting percentage but Arkansas was out-hit .382-.165 in the loss. The Razorbacks open at home hosting Texas-Arlington Tuesday at 7 p.m. For more information regarding Razorback volleyball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.