Dorrell earns MVP in big win at Clarion Inn Invitational Saturday

Jump to Pepperdine box score FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas senior Jessica Dorrell earned Clarion Inn Invitational MVP honors while teammate junior Christina Lawrence was on the all-tournament team after the Lady Razorbacks downed Pepperdine in a thrilling five-game match in the final. Arkansas (2-1) went to the brink with the 27-30, 36-34, 30-22, 25-30, 17-15 victory over the Waves (2-1). Pepperdine, however, emerged as the tournament winner with the best overall game record. “What a difference 24 hours makes,” sighed Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “I’m really, really proud of how hard we worked this weekend. It says a lot about our character. Everyone on the team had big moments that made a difference.” Arkansas also defeated Pittsburgh in three games in the first match of the day. Dorrell was outstanding for the tournament finishing the Pepperdine match with a career-best 26 kills, a .340 hitting percentage, 14 digs and four blocks. Lawrence added 16 kills and three blocks. Sophomore Kristin Seaton tallied 14 kills, hit .433, had eight digs and five blocks. Sophomore Catherine Fowler was also in double-figures with 10 kills and eight blocks, both of which are career-highs. But it was the nightcap that fans will long be talking about. Every game was close including the nail-biting fifth frame with Arkansas winning 17-15. Arkansas led at the eight-point break in the final frame, 8-6, but Pepperdine tied the game at nine, took the lead, and the Lady’Backs tied again at 10 as the back-and-forth contest progressed at a lightening pace. The game was tied at 10 and the Waves put together a 4-2 run leading 14-12 but Arkansas answered the challenge. Dorrell got a kill down the line followed by a Wave hitting error to knot the game at 14 and prompt a Pepperdine timeout. The Waves scored out of the break but followed with a costly service error to tie the game at 15-all. A Pepperdine hitting error gave Arkansas the advantage and Dorrell put the match away with a booming shot to win the contest. “Jessica was just outstanding all weekend,” said Poole. “She is jumping so much better this year. She worked so hard in the off season and it’s really paying off. She was our go-to player all weekend.” In the opener, Lawrence was perfect hitting .727 with a match-best 16 kills and no errors as the Lady Razorbacks defeated Pittsburgh in three games, 30-24, 30-23, 32-30. Lawrence’s performance was one kill shy of a career-best and was easily an early-season high for the Sullivan, Mo., native. Lawrence added one dig and two blocks for Arkansas in the win. “I’m certainly happy with the win and I’m particularly proud of Jessica and Christina,” said Poole. “They have been the go-to hitters in both matches so far and they are playing like leaders on the floor.” Dorrell was also in double-figure kills with 13. She hit .400 with eight digs and three blocks. Seaton was the only other Lady’Back in double-figures with 12. She hit .259. Arkansas was statistically sound in the match hitting .321 with six blocks in the win. The out-dug the Panthers 38-35 and out-served them with eight aces compared to Pittsburgh’s three aces. “We were a little more in control today,” said Poole. “I think we made some big strides. We still have some things to work on but I’m pleased with our progress.” Arkansas returns to non-conference play hosting Oral Roberts Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. For more information about Arkansas volleyball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.