Lady'Back volleyball faces toughest challenge of 2005 season

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team faces one of its toughest challenges of the 2005 season traveling to Gainesville, Fla., for a Southeastern Conference match against the fourth-ranked Florida Gators in a match that will be televised by FSN Friday. Arkansas enters the week with a 13-7 overall record and a 6-2 SEC mark while the Gators are 18-1 overall and a perfect 8-0 in league play. “We’re excited to play again and it’s always rat to play in an atmosphere like they have in Gainesville,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “Florida has some of the best middles in the country and we are going to have to step up our level of play to compete with them on their home court.” Arkansas has won two conference matches in a row but faces a national powerhouse in Florida who has won 11 consecutive matches. In addition, Arkansas, who has won 11 of 12 SEC Western Division titles, has just one victory over the Gators in the 12 seasons the Lady’Backs have had volleyball. “Certainly, the history is not in our favor,” said Poole, “but we usually compete well against Florida. It’s a tough atmosphere to win in but it’s an exciting place and team to play.” Arkansas junior Amy Allison has been one of the team’s leaders in recent matches and earned her second SEC Defensive Player of the Year honor after recording 32 blocks and averaging 2.91 blocks per game last week. The Jenks, Okla., native ranks second in the NCAA and first in the SEC averaging 2.01 bpg this year. Senior Karla Crose currently ranks sixth in the league and sophomore Jessica Dorrell is eighth in the league helping Arkansas to the top spot as a team. The Florida match is the first of two league matches as Arkansas creeps over the mid-point of the season. The Lady’Backs travel to up-and-down Georgia Sunday for a 12:30 p.m., match in Athens, Ga. The Bulldogs are 7-10 overall and 2-5 in SEC play but have upset a couple of league teams. Georgia has won six of seven home matches this year. Both of Arkansas’ road matches will air live in the Fayetteville area on KXUA, 88.3 FM and on the internet at LADYBACKS.COM. In addition, Arkansas match at Florida is the SEC Match of the Week and will air live on the FOX network at 6:30 p.m. Central. For more information about Arkansas volleyball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.