Good effort falls just short at SEC Tournament
Jump to Tennessee box score GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Despite 19 kills from Kele Brewer and 14 from Jennifer Haaser the University of Arkansas suffered a tough four-game loss to No. 12 Tennessee in the second round of the 2004 Southeastern Conference Volleyball Tournament in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday. The 30-23, 22-30, 23-30, 21-30 loss drops the Lady’Backs to 16-14 overall while the Lady Vols improve to 28-2 on the year and advance to the finals against the winner of Florida/Georgia Sunday. Arkansas’ elimination from the tournament marks just the third time in 11 seasons the Lady’Backs failed to reach the finals of the league tournament. The Lady’Backs were solid in the first frame paced by Brewer with seven kills. Arkansas and Tennessee traded points early in the game until the Lady’Backs took a 14-13 lead thanks to a kill from junior Karla Crose. Crose crushed an overpass from Tennessee punching the ball down inside the 10-foot line and sparking the Lady’Backs. Arkansas never trailed from that point on opening a much as a five point lead before winning by seven, 30-23. “I was really proud of the way we played especially in the first game,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “We came out focused and took care of the ball well. You have to credit Tennessee though. They stepped up when they had to.” Arkansas never led in the second game but never trailed by much either in the methodical contest. Tennessee began to pull away about the mid-point and the Lady’Backs couldn’t catch up. Arkansas had several opportunities in the third and fourth games but just as they began to feel the momentum shift to the Lady’Back side of the net, an Arkansas miscue seemed take the wind out of their sails. The Lady’Backs held the lead in the third game until allowing Tennessee to tie the frame on a dump from their setter making it 15-all. The Lady Vols went on to take the lead and never looked back.. Arkansas again had a lead in the fourth game but a composed Tennessee team wasn’t easy to rattle as the Lady Vols just chipped away at the score until tying things at 13 and again at 15 before grabbing the lead for good. “We’ve been allowing teams little mini-runs all season and that was again a factor today,” said Poole. “You just cant’ do that against good teams. We’re young, though, and we’ll be back. I feel like we’ve learned from each match this year and our maturity on the court gets better each time we play.” Arkansas finished the match hitting just .118 with two players, Brewer and Haaser, in double-digit kills. Tennessee did a good job of taking libero Ashley Miller out of the primary passing roll limiting her digs to just 10. Haaser lead the team with 12 while freshman Amanda Eskridge added 11 for the Lady’Backs. The Lady Razorbacks conclude the 2004 regular season at the Fort Worth Plaza Invitational taking on Southern Methodist and Texas Christian Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26-27, in Fort Worth, Texas. For more information about Arkansas volleyball log on to www.ladybacks.com.