Arkansas hosts South Carolina in big SEC match

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas volleyball team hosts South Carolina in Southeastern Conference action Sunday in Barnhill Arena. The 1:30 p.m. SEC match-up should be a good one with both teams playing well this year. The Lady’Backs enter the match with an 8-3 overall record and a 1-2 mark in league play. South Carolina is 9-5 overall and 2-1 in the SEC getting a big win over national powerhouse Florida last weekend. The Gamecocks lost at No. 13 LSU Friday but played the Tigers close. "South Carolina is a very good team," said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. "We’re going to have to play our best to win the match but that can really be said about all of the conference matches this year. There are no gimmies in the league and everyone has taken big strides this year. The SEC champion is probably going to come down to the last couple of weeks of play for the first time in a long time." Arkansas played well in a solid three-game win over Georgia Friday. The balanced attack was paced by middles Amy Allison and Destiny Clark. Allison hit .526 with 11 kills and seven blocks while Clark was nearly perfect with seven kills in eight attempts hitting .875. She had two blocks as well. "We really focused on playing with a lot of emotion this week in practice and I saw that carry over into the match," said Poole. "Sometimes we let ourselves get a little flat and that is when the other teams take advantage of us. I thought we did a much better job of that Friday." The Southeastern Conference is as deep and balanced as it has ever been headlined by three nationally-ranked teams. Perennial front-runner continues to lead the pack ranked 10th in this week’s AVCA top 25. LSU is No. 13 followed by No. 17 Tennessee. The Gators and Lady Vols are members of the SEC Eastern Division and although both are nationally-ranked, neither lead the conference standings. South Carolina entered the weekend on top of the standings with a 2-0 mark. Their loss at LSU ties them with Tennessee (2-1 SEC, 10-2), Florida (2-1 SEC, 9-2) and Kentucky (2-1 SEC, 9-2) on the top of the leader board. Georgia rounds out the East. LSU leads the SEC Western Division with a 3-0 SEC record and an 11-1 overall mark. Auburn is second (2-2, 10-5), followed by Alabama (2-1, 7-5), Arkansas (1-2, 8-3), Mississippi State (1-2, 10-3) and Mississippi (0-3, 8-5). Tickets for Arkansas’ Sunday match are still available at the box office an hour before the first serve. For more information about Arkansas volleyball, log on to LADYBACKS.COM.