Lady'Backs host No. 5 Florida Friday

FAYETTEVILLE — The tough schedule keeps getting tougher for the University of Arkansas volleyball team as the Lady Razorbacks host No. 5 Florida to Barnhill Arena Friday at 7:00 p.m., for the Southeastern Conference opener. Challenged by one of the roughest pre-conference slates in school history, Arkansas (2-7) has been in every match of a slate filled opponents appearing in the national poll or getting votes. Florida (8-1) is the highest ranked opponent for Arkansas this year. "We obviously face another challenge this week," said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. "Florida is ranked fifth in the country and Georgia (Arkansas’ Sunday opponent) figures to be one of the top teams in the SEC this year. Florida is still loaded and is one of the best programs in the country. They are big and physical. They have most of the team back from last year and added the number one recruiting class so we know they’ll be tough." Arkansas’ record doesn’t reflect some of the team’s accomplishments this season. The Lady’Backs posted wins over nationally recognized Pacific and Houston suffering losses to No. 22 Pacific, No. 6 Washington and No. 9 Illinois among others. "We’ve already played some really good teams so we are not in awe or afraid of Florida," said Poole. "We respect them and know that we are going to have to be on top of our game this weekend." Arkansas has seemed to struggle with just one aspect of its game each weekend. First, the hitting efficiency was low, followed by a blocking slump. Last weekend at the C&C Services Invitational, the Lady’Backs put those two elements together but committed 45 service errors in three matches hurting their chances for wins. "We are still making a lot of unforced errors," said Poole, "but we made a big leap this last weekend in our hitting and blocking. We just have to be more consistent. We are still working on improving our on-court chemistry." The Lady’Backs continue SEC action hosting Georgia, Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Arkansas is in the midst of the longest home stand of the year following up with Mississippi Oct. 1, and Mississippi State Oct. 3, in Barnhill Arena. For more information and tickets please call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to