Razorbacks Tame Tigers in Game One
Arkansas battled back from an extended first set loss to win the next three and take the first match over Auburn in the team’s home series against the Tigers.
The Hogs fell 27-25 in the opening set, but then posted 25-18, 25-23 and 25-22 victories for the 3-1 match advantage. Arkansas is now 13-4 on the season and 4-2 in SEC play.
Lucky win No. 13 was historic for the Hogs. Junior outside hitter Jill Gillen recorded her 1,000th career kill in the second set and tied for the match high with 19 on the night.
Both Gillen and sophomore Taylor Head had identical double-doubles with 19 kills and 11 digs, and two other Hogs recorded 10-plus kills: senior Ellease Crumpton with 15, which matches a career high, and junior Maggie Cartwright with 11. Cartwright also led the team in digs with 17.
The two teams were evenly-matched to start, and there were eight tie scores through the midway point. Auburn broke away with a three-point run and brought the score to 19-17 in the Tigers’ favor, which sent the Hogs to a timeout. The Razorbacks scored four of the next six points, including three straight, to tie it at 21-21 and Auburn took a timeout of its own. The Hogs got to set point off of a Tiger service error, but Auburn spoiled it, and again one point, later. Three straight Auburn points closed it out 27-25 in favor of the away team.
The Hogs got the opening two points of the second set, but it didn’t take long for the Tigers to catch up and they made it 3-3. Arkansas then rattled off a three-point run, capped off by an ace from Head, and took a 6-3 lead. Arkansas scored the next two of three for an 8-4 advantage and sent the Tigers to a huddle. While Auburn came close, Arkansas never trailed from there and and extended the lead to 22-16 on a kill and ace from Cartwright. A 3-0 Hogs run featuring a kill and ace from Head made it 25-18 and tied the match 1-1.
The battle was close in the third set to start, until Arkansas strung together a trio of points highlighted by a solo block from Gillen, and led 15-12 at the media timeout. Auburn then turned on the gas and scored six of the next seven points to take an 18-17 lead, which prompted a Razorback timeout. A pair of kills from Crumpton and Cartwright regained the lead at 21-19. Auburn tied it twice out of a timeout, but the Razorbacks added two to take it to set point. A kill from Head finished it at 25-23, and gave Arkansas a 2-1 match lead.
The Razorbacks took a 6-4 lead off of a solo block from senior setter Gracie Ryan in the fourth set, and scored three straight shortly after for a 9-5 advantage. Auburn hit its stride around the midway point and used a 3-0 run to tie it at 12-all, and then took a 14-13 lead. The Hogs scored the next two points for a narrow 15-14 edge at the media timeout. The Tigers tallied five of the next seven points, and down 19-17, Arkansas called timeout. The Razorbacks answered with a 4-2 streak, which featured back-to-back kills from Head, and tied it 21-21. Auburn took two timeouts but had no answer for Arkansas, and a kill from Gillen notched the 25-22 set victory and the 3-1 match win.
The two teams face off again on Sunday for the series finale at Barnhill Arena. The match will be live streamed on SEC Network+ and live stats will be provided.
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