Razorbacks down MSU in four sets
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In its first four-set match of the season, the University of Arkansas volleyball team downed Mississippi State, 25-20, 25-19, 23-25, 26-24, Sunday afternoon at Barnhill Arena. Jasmine Norton had 21 kills and 14 digs for her fourth consecutive double-double performance. Amanda Anderson and Kendall Cleveland each added 14 kills while Kristin Seaton chipped in 10. The Razorbacks hit .354, their highest hitting percentage of the conference season, in the victory.Lindsay Scanlan totaled 54 assists in the match, the second-highest output of her career which trails only the 60-assist performance from the senior setter in Friday’s victory over Alabama. Libero Phoebe Bautista finished the four-set match with 18 digs, her seventh double-digit effort in Arkansas’ eight Southeastern Conference matches.
"We came out and did some very good things," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "We had good energy and good execution, but we need to keep on growing. I still think the best volleyball is ahead of us, but we need to mature in terms of closing matches out and being able to be steady throughout."In the opening set, Arkansas (10-9, 4-4) took a 10-8 lead on a kill by Norton, and the two-point advantage was the largest either team would have during the early stages of the match. The first set featured 15 ties, the last of which saw the score at 20-20. The Razorbacks reeled off the final five points, aided by three kills from Cleveland, to take the opener, 25-20.Mississippi State (5-14, 1-7) won four of the first five points to start the second set, but the Razorbacks responded and eventually tied the score at 9-9 on another kill by Cleveland. The teams were once again square, at 12-all, when Arkansas took control of the set by winning seven of eight points to take a 19-13 lead. The Bulldogs battled back to close to within three, but the Razorbacks won the final three points of the set, capped by an Anderson kill, to take the two-set advantage into intermission. Arkansas hit .425 and .419 in sets one and two, respectively.After the break, the Razorbacks jumped out to a 7-0 lead and looked ready to complete the sweep. Arkansas eventually held a 10-point lead, 15-5, but the Bulldogs rallied to win the next six points and 15 of the next 20 to even the score. With the momentum in its corner, Mississippi State had two set points, 24-22, after an attack error from Seaton. Norton saved one of those points with a kill, but an attack by the Bulldogs’ Chanelle Baker found the floor to seal the set, 25-23, in favor of the visitors.In the fourth set, the action resembled that of the first with neither team able to grab a distinct advantage. The Razorbacks led by three, their largest lead of the set, at 11-8 after a Mississippi State service error, but as they did in the previous set, the Bulldogs fought back to even the score. From that point, the match turned into a back-and-forth affair until Mississippi State seized control and went ahead, 23-20, to force Pulliza to call a timeout.Kills by Scanlan and Norton closed the Razorback deficit to one, but a ball-handling miscue gave Mississippi State a pair of set points at 24-22. Seaton saved the first with a smash out of the middle on a cross play, Kelli Stipanovich evened the fourth set with a kill, and another putaway by Seaton gave Arkansas a match point. On the final play, MSU’s Faith Steinwedell put an attempt into the net to send the Razorbacks to victory.Arkansas closes out its current home stand with an Oct. 14 matchup with Ole Miss. First serve of the midweek contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CT) at Barnhill Arena. The match will also be broadcast on KXUA 88.3 FM for this first time this season. For more information, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
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