Fifth-Set Rally Falls Short Against Alabama

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Junior Pilar Victoria had a match-high 24 kills in the Razorbacks’ five-set loss Sunday afternoon to Alabama at Barnhill Arena. Victoria and setter Adrien Wohlschlaeger each tallied a double-double performance to go along with four Razorbacks reaching double figures in digs. With Sunday’s result, Arkansas is now 14-8 overall with a 4-6 mark against SEC opponents.

Playing in their second-consecutive five setter, the Razorbacks went out to a 4-2 lead on an Alabama attack error. The Crimson Tide rallied to take an 8-6 lead at the switch and were ahead 10-7 when head coach Robert Pulliza used his first timeout. Arkansas turned to Victoria who responded with six kills over the next eight points including back-to-back kills out of the back row for a 13-12 lead. However, Alabama rattled off the final three points to secure the win.

Alabama 3, Arkansas 2 (22-25, 25-23, 18-25, 25-20, 15-13)
Attendance: 1,021 | Time: 2:33
Barnhill Arena | Fayetteville, Ark.

• Leaders vs. Alabama
o Kills: Pilar Victoria – 24
o Digs: Okiana Valle – 18
o Blocks: Chanell Clark-Bibbs – 6 (0-6)

Victoria completed her team-leading 12th double-double with 14 digs to go along with her offensive production. Her 24-kill efforts is her 10th of the season with at least 20 kills, seven of which have come during league play. Wohlschlaeger dished out 50 assists and collected 11 digs for her second double-double of the season, and first since the conference opener at LSU. Breana Jones added 13 kills while Danielle Harbin and Chanell Clark-Bibbs had nine and eight kills, respectively.

Freshman libero Okiana Valle paced Arkansas’ double-digit quartet with a team-high 18 digs. She added five assists and a pair of service aces. Kori Ortiz reached double figures for the ninth time this season, picking up 13 digs behind Arkansas’ block. From the service line, the Razorbacks tied a season high with eight aces. Valle, Victoria and Wohlschlaeger had two apiece while Clark-Bibbs and Monica Bollinger each tallied one service winner.

Alabama (11-13, 5-5 SEC) jumped out to an early advantage and led 11-8 in the first set before the Razorbacks scored six of the next nine points to tie the score at 14-all with an ace by Monica Bollinger. The home team took a three-point lead of its own at 18-15 after back-to-back kills by Jones. Alabama pulled even at 19-all but the Razorbacks won five of the next seven points to arrive at set point on a Jones-Victoria block. On the team’s second opportunity, Arkansas clinched the set when Alabama sent a serve into the net.

Out of the locker room and the match tied at 1-1, the Razorbacks jumped out to a 9-4 lead after a service ace by Victoria and a kill by Chanell Clark-Bibbs. The Crimson Tide pulled to within one but Arkansas responded with a run of its own to go ahead 20-14 to force Alabama into its second timeout. Arkansas took advantage of consecutive errors from its opponent to win the third set, 25-18, and take a 2-1 match lead.

The Razorbacks hit the road next weekend for matches at Ole Miss and Mississippi State with both matches streamed live on SEC Network+ and through the WatchESPN app. Arkansas’ next home match is Wednesday, Nov. 11, against LSU at Barnhill Arena. The midweek conference matchup will be aired on the SEC Network.

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