Lady'Backs wrap up SEC regular season at MSU
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team is looking for a share of the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division title needing a win at Mississippi State Sunday. The Lady Razorbacks enter the 2:00 p.m., match with a 13-13 overall record and a 9-6 mark in the SEC tied with Alabama in the division. “Well, this is a must-win for us,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “We want to finish strong as we head to the SEC Tournament and a win Sunday would help us move in that direction.” The match at State is the final SEC regular season contest for Arkansas. The Lady’Backs host non-conference foe Southwest Missouri State Tuesday before departing for the league tournament in Gainesville, Fla., Nov. 19-21. The Lady’Backs have had an up-and-down year opening with the toughest pre-conference schedule in school history, a schedule that may have been one of the toughest in the country this year. After starting 2-8 with nine of the first 10 opponents mentioned in the preseason poll, the Lady’Backs rallied to start SEC play with winning streaks of five, then six matches in a row. But November has been tough for the Lady’Backs and Arkansas finds itself with a 1-3 record in the month including three consecutive losses heading into the Mississippi State match. “I don’t think I’ve ever lost three matches in a row in the month of November in my entire career,” said Poole. “We’ve played pretty well lately and we just have to get back on track.” Arkansas’ defense has been one of the team’s strengths this year. The Lady’Backs currently rank xxx in the SEC with 3.29 blocks per game and are 30th in the country with a 3.08 average in all matches. Senior Jennifer Haaser and junior Karla Crose have been the team’s leaders at the net this year. Haaser, a Fort Smith, Ark., native, is averaging 1.45 bpg while Crose checks in with a 1.36 average in all matches. The Lady’Backs have also passed better than in recent seasons thanks, in part, to freshman Ashley Miller. The Vacaville, Calif., libero leads the team with 390 digs and a 3.86 dig-per-game average this year. Arkansas wraps up the regular season with a Thanksgiving weekend tournament at Texas Christian University. The Lady’Backs face TCU and Southern Methodist that weekend. For more information about Arkansas volleyball log on to www.ladybacks.com.