Lady'Backs host C&C Services Invitational
FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas volleyball team returns to the court Friday and Saturday hosting the C&C Services Invitational Sept. 17-18, in Barnhill Arena. Arkansas, 1-5 overall, welcomes a tough field including ninth-ranked Illinois for the six-match round robin. The Lady’Backs also face Ball State and Houston this weekend. "We are certainly glad to be back at home," said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. "We had a rough weekend last weekend but we have the toughest schedule in the country this year. Combine that with a very young team and we’re taking our lumps." The Lady’Backs have dropped four in a row but have played well in the nationally competitive schedule. Arkansas opened the year with a home loss to Kansas followed by a win over Pacific. The Lady’Backs then fell at No. 22 Santa Clara, versus No. 6 Washington, versus Michigan State who is receiving votes in the national poll and at Wichita State, also getting votes. This weekend signals the start of the longest home stand of the season for Arkansas and the continuation of the tough opponents. Tournament play opens with No. 9 Illinois versus Houston at noon Friday. The 5:00 p.m. match features No. 9 Illinois and Ball State followed by the 7:00 p.m., match between Arkansas and Houston. Saturday’s action again begins at noon with Arkansas facing Ball State. Houston and Ball State meet in the 5:00 p.m., match followed by Arkansas and No. 9 Illinois in the nightcap at 7:00 p.m. "We’re certainly being challenged this year," said Poole. "We are trying to make some changes and add some punch to the lineup this weekend. We’re hopeful to have Kele (Brewer) back into the lineup. She played some last weekend but was limited. We’re just doing anything we can to breathe some new life back into the team. Losing is exhausting and it’s a tough rut to break out of. I still believe this team is capable of playing good volleyball this year and we’re trying to get that started this weekend." The Lady’Backs threw the kitchen sink at the court last weekend trying to jump start the offense. All-Southeastern Conference freshman team member Kele Brewer was sidelined for most of the preseason and the first weekend of play with an injury but made a limited return to the court in Wichita. Freshman setter Amanda Eskridge was also out with an injury but also played last weekend. Both are expected to contribute this weekend as well. Lone senior Jennifer Haaser and SEC Freshman of the Year Denitza Koleva have been the team’s workhorses thus far in the season. The duo is joined by sophomore Amy Allison who has posted several career-bests already this year. Junior Chelsey Warmack has anchored the team playing mostly the libero role while junior Karla Crose has also stepped up in several matches early in the year. "We are excited to be back at home and playing in front of the home crowd," said Poole. "We’re grateful to C&C Services for their participation in the event and we believe we have a top-notch field for some exciting volleyball this weekend." For more information about Arkansas volleyball call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to www.ladybacks.com.