Razorbacks Close Arkansas Invite with Sixth Straight Sweep
Prior to Sunday’s match with Colorado, the Buffaloes hadn’t lost in 14 straight sets. The Razorbacks responded by handing them three losses in a row, which marks 18 straight set victories for Arkansas. The Hogs have now hit a six-match sweep record, last achieved in the 2001 season.
It was also Colorado’s first match loss of the season, and both teams are now 7-1. Both the Hogs and the Buffs received votes in this week’s AVCA poll.
“Really strong performance this weekend. Collectively, proud of the team effort. We played really clean today, had a difficult time finding points against a great Colorado team,” head coach Jason Watson said. “I feel we are in a good place heading into an equally difficult two non-conference matches. Looking forward to playing at home Thursday and Friday.”
Junior Taylor Head carried the Hog offense yet again in Sunday’s Arkansas invitational finale with 13 kills and 10 digs for a double-double. She also had a team-best three service aces, which is a new season high. Sophomore setter Hannah Hogue paced the Hogs with 24 assists and 14 digs for a double-double performance as well, her third of the season.
Senior Maggie Cartwright was a difference-maker on both sides of the ball on the day with nine kills on 23 attempts for a .304 hitting percentage and had five blocks. Three Hogs had five or more blocks in Arkansas’ 12 team total, the third time the Razorbacks have posted a season-best dozen blocks. Cartwright and graduate middle blocker Tatum Shipes had five, while graduate Abigail Archibong led Arkansas with six, which matches her season high.
Arkansas began the match on a 5-3 run, but Colorado stayed on the Hogs’ heels and tied the score three times early. The Razorbacks then went on a four-point streak with two kills from Head, one from Cartwright and a solo block from Hailey Dirrigl for 15-11 lead at the media timeout. The Hogs then scored four of the next six points, which sent the Buffs to a timeout with Arkansas up 19-13. The break rejuvenated Colorado and the visitors came within one at 19-18, but Arkansas answered and strung together a 5-2 run to force set point. The Buffs called time, but a Cartwright kill ended the set 25-20 in favor of the Razorbacks.
The Hogs came out blazing in the second set with a 9-3 advantage to start, which featured two aces from sophomore libero Courtney Jackson and a pair of kills from Head. The Buffs called time but couldn’t generate much out of the break, and Arkansas went up 14-5 quickly. The Hogs added three more points to double the lead, and Colorado huddled again. The home team went over 20 with a kill from Dirrigl and tallied another two points after that for a 10-point advantage. The Buffs grabbed three of the next four, but a service error gave Arkansas set point. Colorado got one back, but a tip kill from Head made it 25-16 Hogs and put Arkansas ahead 2-0 in the match.
While the Buffaloes came within one four times early on in set three, the Hogs showed no mercy after that. A 5-1 Arkansas run pushed the score to 12-7 and Colorado called timeout. The Razorbacks claimed four of the next five points, which included an ace from Head, and went up 16-8. A kill from Dirrigl and ace from Gillen extended the lead to 19-10, and a block by Head and Shipes took Arkansas over 20. Colorado cut the lead to eight, but three straight Hog points, including back-to-bac aces from Head to end it, sealed the 25-14 Arkansas set victory and third match sweep in as many days.
A top five showdown next awaits the Razorbacks as the No. 5 Georgia Tech Yellowjackets come to town on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at Barnhill Arena as part of the Arkansas Challenge. It will be the highest-ranked opponent that Arkansas has hosted at home since No. 3 Florida in the 2017 season, in which the Razorbacks fell in five to the Gators. The match saw Arkansas’ ninth-best crowd ever with 1,343 fans. The Hogs also face the NC State Wolfpack the following day, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online, by phone, or in person through the Razorback Ticket Center.
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