Kentucky downs Arkansas in four in final regular season match

Jump to Kentuckybox score FAYETTEVILLE – Three players in double figure kills and 15.0 team blocks for the University of Arkansas volleyball team couldn’t overcome inspired play and 72 digs by Kentucky in the final Southeastern Conference match of the regular season Sunday. Arkansas fell, 30-16, 29-31, 28-30, 26-30, in front of a season-best crowd of 797. The loss gave Arkansas a share of the SEC Western Division title, a crowd they share with LSU as both finished with 11-5 league records. In addition, Arkansas (19-10 overall) fell to fourth place in the overall conference standings and will rematch with Kentucky in the first round of the SEC Tournament in Birmingham, Ala., Friday, Nov. 18. “I’m very disappointed that we couldn’t maintain the intensity we had in game one,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “We committed a lot of errors, especially in the last two games. We were really flat in games three and four and never came back.” Redshirt sophomore Christina Lawrence led Arkansas with 14 kills while Denitza Koleva and Kele Brewer were also in double-figures. Junior Amy Allison and Crose added nine each. Crose also recorded eight blocks in the loss. Sophomore libero Ashley Miller bypassed the 1000-dig mark reaching the milestone in the third game. Arkansas opened the afternoon with a brief senior day celebration honoring the accomplishments of Karla Crose and Iva Docekalova who were playing their final home match in the Cardinal and White. The energy from the ceremony carried over into the first game as Arkansas dominated play hitting .352. Arkansas’ momentum began to waiver in game two and the Lady’Backs lost down the stretch. Kentucky managed to maintain their intensity while the Lady’Backs struggled to regain theirs in the third frame. After the convincing win in the opener, Arkansas was solid to start game two as well, leading by as many as three before a side-out battle began late in the frame. The game was tied several times late finally at 29-all after an unforced error by the Lady’Backs. The mistake took the wind out of the Lady’Backs’ sails and Kentucky used a block and a kill to win the game. Arkansas struggled out of the lockerroom and finished hitting just .078 in the third game. The Lady’Backs managed a couple of different scoring runs tying the contest seven times as late as 28-all. But again Kentucky stepped up with the final two points taking advantage of back-to-back hitting errors by Arkansas. The Wildcats led game four from the first serve but Arkansas stayed close tying the contest at 25 but a Lady’Back hitting error again gave the Wildcats the advantage and the momentum. The Lady’Backs were outscored 5-1 to drop the fourth game. “Kentucky played like they wanted the match more than we did,” said Poole. “They are a very good digging team and I thought we hit some great shots but they pulled them up. That was as a much the difference as anything.”