Lady'Backs host LSU in Western Division showdown
FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas volleyball is looking to clinch its 10th Southeastern Conference Western Division title hosting Louisiana State in the final league regular season match Friday at 7:00 p.m., Friday. Arkansas is clinging to a narrow lead in the Western Division lead with a 9-5 league record and a 13-12 overall mark hosting the Tigers who are third in the West with a 6-8 SEC record and a 14-10 overall mark. The Lady’Backs are just ahead of Alabama in the West. The Crimson Tide enter the weekend at 9-6 in SEC play and 19-7 overall. The match makes Lady’Back history as it will air on a pay-per-view basis on Arkansas’ website at www.ladybacks.com. "We need to win both of our remaining SEC matches to ensure the outright Western Division title," said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. "There’s a lot at steak this weekend. We feel like we really need this home win Friday to carry us into a tough road match Sunday." Arkansas travels to Mississippi State Sunday for the Lady’Backs’ final SEC regular season match before the league tournament. In addition to the significance of the match, the Lady’Backs celebrate senior night honoring Fort Smith, Ark., senior Jennifer Haaser in her final home SEC match. "Jennifer has meant a lot to this program," said Poole. "We’re certainly going to have to work hard to replace her next season. It’s great that we are taking Friday to say thanks to all she’s contributed to our program." In addition to Haaser the Lady’Backs will honor senior manager Rachel Dunnahoe as well. The Lady’Backs faced one of the toughest schedules in the country this year taking their lumps early in the season. Arkansas made a run as league play started winning six in a row recently and vaulting to the division lead. "Our confidence is as strong as it’s ever been," said Poole. "We’re still ranked 33rd in the nation in RPI and we have a lot of matches left. LSU has changed it’s lineup a bit right after we played them and they’ve been winning with this new look. We’re going to have to play really well the rest of the way." Arkansas hosts LSU Friday, followed by a road match at Mississippi State Sunday. The Lady’Backs return to Barnhill for the final regular season match hosting non-conference foe Southwest Missouri State, Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 7:00 p.m. The team then departs Wednesday for the 2004 SEC Tournament hosted by Florida in Gainesville, Fla., Nov. 19-21. Arkansas concludes the regular season with a Thanksgiving Tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 26-27. For more information about Arkansas volleyball log on to www.ladybacks.com.