Lady'Back Volleyball opens with two wins

Jump to Idaho box|| Jump to Oklahoma box NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team has a pretty good balance of returners and newcomers on the 2006 squad but the newcomers were in several key positions worrying head coach Chris Poole. He isn’t as worried now. Arkansas notched a 30-24, 28-30, 30-17, 30-16 win over Idaho followed by a thrilling five-game 30-28, 31-29, 20-30, 24-30, 16-14 win over host Oklahoma to open the season behind stand out and stepped up play from the youngsters. “I’m very please with the newcomers,” said Poole. “Overall, it was an excellent job by everyone for the first match. Again, we haven’t practiced all together much this preseason but I thought we really came together in the match. Destiny (Clark) had an outstanding first match and I thought our block as a whole did a great job controlling the net.” One of the biggest question marks for the Lady’Backs was at the setter position with freshman Lindsay Scanlan and sophomore Caira Daugherty sharing the spotlight. The duo stepped up in both matches and Daugherty provided a double-threat with a lethal serve and four service aces in the first match. Arkansas tallied 11 service aces against Idaho. Despite going four games, the Lady’Backs dominated the first match hitting .323 and holding the Vandels to a .127 mark. Clark paced Arkansas in the opener hitting .727 with eight kills, no errors and 11 attempts. She added nine blocks in the Idaho win. Senior Denitza Koleva paced the team with a match-high 14 kills and she added 11 digs while senior Amy Allison tallied 12 kills and hit .360 with five blocks. Junior Jessica Dorrell was also in double-digit kills with 10 while junior Ashley Miller led the team with 14 digs. Arkansas’ second-match effort was nothing short of Herculean with neither team tearing up the offensive numbers. In fact, the Lady’Backs hit just .196 to OU’s .169 but 14 Arkansas blocks and 11.5 Sooner blocks were critical for both teams. Dorrell led the Arkansas hitters with 17 kills in the match followed by Koleva with 14 and senior Kele Brewer with 10. Koleva added a team-best 16 digs and hit .300 for Arkansas while Allison had four block solos and four block assists in the win. “I’m excited to be 2-0,” said Poole. “We played better than I anticipated based on the lack of practice time together. A lot of players really stepped up and showed a lot of guts, especially in game five. We wanted the match and while I was disappointed to drop those two games, I think it showed incredible character to come back and win that match.” The fifth game was dramatic with the game pretty even through the mid-point of the frame. Arkansas found itself trailing, 10-12, when Poole took his first time out of the game but OU scored out of the break and the Lady’Backs were down three late. Brewer stepped up with a cross court kill followed by a solo block from Allison who won a big, momentum-shifting joust at the net. The Sooners burned their first timeout of the fifth game but followed up with a hitting error out of the break tying the game at 13. Quickly OU took its final timeout trying to re-gain the momentum and keep the rowdy crowd of 824 in the game. Brewer teamed with Allison for a block and Arkansas found itself with match point, leading 14-13 but a service error again knotted the game, this time at 14-all. Dorrell, who had 39 touches in the match, threaded the OU block for the next point and Brewer closed the match with a kill off a Sooner block for the Arkansas victory. The Lady Razorbacks continue play at the OU Invitational Saturday facing North Carolina at 2:00 p.m. Carolina downed Idaho earlier Friday. For more information about Arkansas volleyball log on to LADYBACKS.COM.