Norton's 15 leads Arkansas
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Freshman Jasmine Norton paced the University of Arkansas to a three-set win over Jacksonville State at the Arkansas Volleyball Invitational in Barnhill Arena Friday.
Norton had 15 kills and hit .379 helping Arkansas (6-3) to the 25-20, 25-18, 25-20 win over JSU (6-3). Freshman Amanda Anderson added nine kills and hit .500 while senior Kristin Seaton had eight kills in another balanced effort by Arkansas.
"It was a tremendous team effort tonight," Arkansas head coach Robert Pulliza said. "From the ball handling and passing – everyone did a great job."
Arkansas hit .281 as a team with 39 kills, 36 assists, 40 digs and seven team blocks, all solid numbers for the Razorbacks. The home team matched JSU with 40 digs, a number Pulliza was pleased with.
"Jacksonville State was better than us in the digging stats coming into the match and to finish even is great and says a lot about our effort tonight," Pulliza said.
Arkansas had great energy in the first set and held tough through the close scoring event. The Razorbacks took an 11-10 lead on a kill from freshman Janeliss Torres-Lopez and turned it up a notch from there. They stretched the lead to two and then five as JSU burned a pair of timeouts trying to stop the Razorbacks.
The break slowed Arkansas but couldn’t stop them as they closed the set with the win. Arkansas hit .407 in the first set holding JSU to a .174 mark. The Razorbacks posted 16 kills behind a seven-kill performance from Anderson who hit .400 for the frame.
The Razorbacks stormed out to a huge lead in the second set and cruised to the win. Up by as many as 11 Arkansas stumbled a bit allowing JSU a run but the early margin was too much for the Gamecocks to overcome. Arkansas again out-hit JSU, .242-.216, and posted three blocks in the set en route to the win.
The third set was a closer battle with six ties and one lead change. The final tie came at 15-all when Arkansas got a kill from Norton giving the Razorbacks a lead they would not surrender.
JSU did not go down easily. The Gamecocks fell behind by four but rallied only to see an offensive surge from Arkansas who won the final set by five.
In the first match of the tournament, Kansas defeated North Texas in three sets, 25-15, 25-16, 25-20.
Play continues at the Arkansas Invitational with the Razorbacks taking on North Texas at 11 a.m. Arkansas wraps up the tournament with Kansas at 7 p.m.
For more information regarding Razorback volleyball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.