Lady'Backs win Arkansas Invitational

Jump to Southeast Missouri State box FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas notched a three-game win over Southeast Missouri State winning the Arkansas Invitational volleyball tournament in Barnhill Arena Saturday. Arkansas, 6-0 overall, downed SEMO (1-5) in three, 30-16, 30-27, 30-21, to remain unbeaten on the year. “Overall, we played well today,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “We had some let downs but kept on fighting back. Ultimately, we’re measured by wins and losses and I’m happy to be winning.” Senior Denitza Koleva recorded her sixth consecutive double-double with a match-best 16 kills and 12 digs. She hit .444 in the win. Junior Jessica Dorrell added 15 kills and 12 digs hitting .303 while senior Amy Allison had a quiet 11 kills and a team-leading four blocks in the win. It’s not often that a volleyball story will tell you that a setter won the game. Then, factor in that she didn’t win it with an assist. In fact, sophomore Caira Daugherty won the first game with a relentless serve that saw the Springfield, Mo., native get three aces and take Southeast Missouri State completely out of its rhythm. Daugherty served for 13 consecutive points and force SEMO’s coaching staff to burn both of their timeouts as the Lady’Backs opened a 20-9 lead with an 11-0 run. “Caira’s been serving well all year,” said Poole. “She’s got a good jump serve that throws off our opponents. It’s something she’s really been working on and it was very successful today.” Daugherty was helped by an efficient offensive performance that saw Arkansas hit .344 with 15 kills and only four hitting errors. A pair of blocks and four total aces in the frame saw the Lady’Backs cruise to the win. Daugherty also had six assists for Arkansas. Arkansas’ red-hot first-frame display dissipated quickly as the second game began. The Lady’Backs trailed from the opening serve and never seemed to find their momentum despite several booming kills from Dorrell and Koleva. With his team down, 23-19, Poole called his first timeout trying to make an adjustment emotionally. The chat worked for Koleva who got a pair of kills and a block solo closing the gap with the Red Hawks. Senior Amy Allison got into the act with a kill that tied the game at 24 prompting SEMO to burn the first of two timeouts as they fought to regain their composure. But Arkansas raised its level of play for the final points outscoring SEMO 11-4 down the stretch for the comeback win. Arkansas hit a respectable .281 behind Koleva’s .583 single-game performance that included eight kills. Dorrell added seven kills in the second game. Arkansas stepped up again in the third game leading from the first serve. The Lady’Backs hi t .333 in the last frame and firmly grabbed control of the game with back-to-back kills from Dorrell that gave Arkansas a 21-18 lead. Arkansas went on a 9-2 run shutting the door on SEMO.