Hogs Pull Off Reverse Sweep, Go 2-0 Against Tigers
Arkansas’ first five-set match in SEC play ended in a come-from-behind victory as the Razorbacks defeated Auburn 3-2 on Sunday.
The Hogs fell in the first two sets 20-25 and 23-25 before the momentum swung their way for 25-15, 25-17 and 15-7 victories and the match win. With the series sweep over Auburn, Arkansas is now 5-2 in SEC play and 14-4 on the season.
Sophomore Taylor Head led the Razorbacks with a career-high 20 kills in the match, and also added 16 digs for her ninth double-double of the season. Two other Hogs recorded double-doubles in kills and digs: Maggie Cartwright with 16 kills and 11 digs and Jill Gillen with 12 kills and a season-high 17 digs.
Senior setter Gracie Ryan tallied 54 assists and a career-best 25 digs, which gives her 10 double-doubles this year and leads the team. She also added four kills, which matches a season record.
Auburn jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set that the Tigers would end up holding for the majority of the way. The Razorbacks added a three-point run to cut the Auburn lead to 9-7 and swung the momentum to tie it up three times, but couldn’t break through to take a lead. The Tigers edged the Hogs 21-18, and after with two timeouts, Arkansas added just two more points. An Auburn kill finished the first 25-20 in favor of the Tigers.
The second set was tied at 3-3 before Auburn made a big run, which included three Arkansas errors, and the Tigers went up 8-4. The Hogs stayed on their heels and grabbed a lead of their own at 13-11 off a three-point streak, and extended it to 15-12 with kills from Ellease Crumpton and Cartwright at the media timeout. It didn’t take long for Auburn to catch up, and while the Hogs tied it twice, a 22-20 Tiger advantage stuck until the end. Head spoiled two Auburn set points, but a kill ended the second 25-23 for the Tigers and for the 2-0 match lead.
With their backs against the wall, the Hogs came out firing on all cylinders in the third set. Arkansas quickly got an 8-4 advantage, to which the Tigers answered back and tied it at 8-8. The Hogs immediately regained the lead with four straight points, including three consecutive kills from Crumpton, and Auburn called a timeout. The Tigers notched one point, but the Hogs added five, and it was a 17-9 lead for the home team. From there, Head tallied a trio of kills, Cartwright and Ryan had one each, and an attack error from Auburn sent the Hogs to set point. Gillen ended the third with a 10-point Arkansas edge and put the home team back in the match down 2-1.
Much like the third set, the Razorbacks had all of the momentum to start and grabbed a 7-2 lead before Auburn called a timeout. Kills from Cartwright, Ryan and Head and an ace from Cartwright gave the Hogs a 10-point advantage, and the Tigers huddled again. Auburn found a rhythm and cut the deficit to five at 18-13, which sent the Razorbacks to regroup. Three straight Arkansas points, including Gillen’s second ace of the day, regained the seven-point margin at 21-14, and the Razorbacks stayed in control from there. Head finished off the fourth with a kill for a 25-17 final and tied the match at 2-2. Arkansas hit its best in the fourth set, .343 to Auburn’s .194.
The Hogs didn’t let off the gas in the fifth and final set, and had four consecutive points from Gillen to take a 5-1 lead. After an Auburn timeout, Arkansas was the first to 10 and doubled the lead at 10-5, which prompted the Tigers to call time again. A kill from Gillen and ace from Cartwright extended the Hog run, and an Auburn service error brought the Hogs within two of the comeback victory. A kill from Gillen and ace from freshman Courtney Jackson sealed the 15-7 victory and the 3-2 match finish.
The Hogs have an off week coming up before they return to action Oct. 22-23 for a series against reigning national champion Kentucky in Lexington. Friday’s match will air live on SEC Network and is set for 8 p.m. and Saturday’s 6 p.m. finale will be broadcast on SEC Network+.
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