Arkansas hosts Kentucky Sunday

FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas volleyball team continues Southeastern Conference action hosting Kentucky at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Barnhill Arena. Arkansas improved to 11-8 overall and 4-7 in the SEC with an upset win over 25th-ranked Tennessee Friday in a victory that did more than just impact the Lady’Backs’ record. “The win on Friday was big,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “Not only was Tennessee ranked but we avenged an earlier loss to Tennessee. I thought we played better and worked hard to finish games ad that was something we weren’t doing earlier in the season. Senior Denitza Koleva has been the work horse for Arkansas all season. The Middleton, Wis., native has recorded 15 double-doubles for kills and digs in 19 matches this year. She tallied a season-best 23 kills in the win over Tennessee on Friday. “Denny has played well all year,” said Poole. “She’s putting up all-American numbers but we need to get her some help. We did a better job of that Friday and want to continue that as the season continues.” Friday’s match signaled the turn of the SEC season for all the teams in the league as everyone starts back through the conference schedule for the second time this year. Arkansas didn’t get the start it wanted in SEC play going 3-7 through the first 10 matches but the win over Tennessee could signal a turn for the Lady’Backs. “We’ve told the girls not to even think about the first half of the season,” said Poole. “We have rededicated ourselves to the next 10 games and we really want to focus on our future for this year. We know that anything can happen in the SEC so we’re just taking it one game at a time.” Poole is right about anything happening in the SEC. In addition to Arkansas’ win over Tennessee Friday, Georgia, last in the league with a 1-9 record, downed Auburn who entered the contest 12-8 overall and 4-6 in the SEC. Nationally-ranked LSU and Florida both won as the statistics would predict but 4-6 Mississippi upset Alabama who had won five in a row with two ranked wins during that stretch. “The SEC is always tough on the road,” said Poole. “But that’s even more true this year. Everyone is so much better and the improvement between last year and this year has been remarkable and it makes every match anyone’s to win.” The match is slated for a 1:30 p.m., start and will air in the Northwest Arkansas area live on 88.3 FM, KXUA. For more information about Arkansas volleyball, log on to LADYBACKS.COM.