Lady'Backs host No. 5 Florida Friday

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas volleyball team continues Southeastern Conference action Friday hosting fifth-ranked Florida in a televised match at Barnhill Arena beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Arkansas enters the week with an 8-10 overall record and a 2-6 SEC mark hosting Florida who is one of six remaining undefeated teams in the country with a 16-0 mark and a 9-0 SEC record. The match is televised by Sun Sports.

"Every match this season has been a challenge," said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. "Certainly Florida is the best team we’ve seen all season. They think of themselves as a Final Four team and they are playing like it."

Arkansas has faced many challenges this season, most recently an injury to starting hitter Christina Lawrence. The Sullivan, Mo., native was injured prior to last Friday’s match and is doubtful for the Florida contest.

As a result, Arkansas put together a never-before-seen lineup last weekend playing to a 1-1 split with Georgia and Auburn. After a week of working on the lineup, the Lady’Backs are bound to feel more confident heading into the Florida match.

"We knew this would be a transition year for us," said Poole, "but we’ve had some little things come up that have thrown us even further off of our game plan. That said, I think this team has shown a lot of character and continues to play hard and gets better each time we take the court. We are really working on becoming more consistent and limiting our unforced errors."

Arkansas’ middle blockers have stepped up their level of play in recent matches. Yun Tang, thrown in for Lawrence last weekend, recorded back-to-back 11 block matches. In the last four matches, freshman Sarah Freudenrich has recorded 33 kills, is hitting .373, has seven digs, 33 total blocks and a 1.83 block per game average. She had a career-best 12 kills against Georgia last weekend. Sophomore Catherine Fowler tied her career-best with eight total blocks against Georgia. She has 44 kills, a 2.44 kill per game average, a .261 hitting percentage, two digs, 24 total blocks and a 1.33 bpg average in the last four matches.

The Florida match is the first of two home matches this weekend. Arkansas hosts South Carolina Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Florida defeated the Gamecocks in three games in Gainesville, Fla., Wednesday.

Tickets for both events are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 57-LBACK or logging on to LADYBACKS.COM.