Record-setting night falls just short for Arkansas at the C&C Services Invitational

Jump to Ball State box || Jump to No. 9 Illinois box FAYETTEVILLE – Jennifer Haaser and Amy Allison paced the University of Arkansas to a season-best 18 blocks in a thrilling conclusion to the 2004 C&C Services Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday. Haaser earned all-tournament team honors leading the Lady’Backs with 16 kills and 12 total blocks. Allison was perfect for the game with 11 kills, 17 attempts and a career-best .647 hitting percentage. Despite the success on the floor, Arkansas fell to 2-7 overall in the 22-30, 31-29, 20-30, 29-31 loss to No. 9 Illinois (7-1). “We have made so many improvements over the last week it’s just that we’re playing such great competition that we’re not able to see a lot of success in the win column,” said head coach Chris Poole. “Tonight our block big and to block like that against the No. 9 team in the nation is great.” Arkansas was flat in the first game but roared to life in the second edging the Illini. It was a close, back-and-forth battle when the Lady’Backs tied the game at 29 on a cross court kill from Haaser. An Illinois blocking error gave Arkansas the advantage and prompted a timeout from the Illini. Illinois committed an hitting error after the break and Arkansas escaped with the game-two victory. The teams headed into the locker room between games two and three and Arkansas again struggled to get going after the 10-minute break spotting Illinois a 5-0 lead that the Lady’Backs could not rally from. But flip a switch and a revitalized Lady’Back team stepped on the floor in the fourth frame. Arkansas led early but Illinois stayed close. Arkansas was energized by the block recording six of their season-best 18 in the final game. “We did so many more things right tonight,” said Poole. Our blocks, our kills and our digs all came together but we struggled with our hitting percentage. We are still making some errors due to our youth and inexperience. We just gotta keep improving and growing. We have a young team and we just have to cut down on the things on our side of the net.” Illinois won the C&C Services Invitational with a perfect 3-0 record. Ball State was second at 2-1, followed by Arkansas, 1-2, and Houston, 0-3. Illinois’ Rosa Virsilaite earned tournament MVP honors. Rachel Van Meter and Jessica Belter of Illinois were named to the all-tournament team along with Ball State’s Rachel Refenes and Sarah Obras. Arkansas’s struggles with the serve continued in it’s opening match against Ball State Saturday. The Lady’Backs committed 19 service errors against Houston in a Friday win but suffered with 16 against Ball State dropping the match in three games. Jennifer Haaser paced the Lady’Backs with 14 kills and a season-best .522 hitting percentage but Arkansas was out-hit, and out-dug in the match. Junior Karla Crose tallied nine kills while sophomore Kele Brewer added seven for Arkansas. The Lady Razorbacks return to the court beginning Southeastern Conference play Friday, Sept. 24, hosting No. 4 Florida at 7:00 p.m. SEC action continues at 1:30 p.m., Sunday when the Lady’Backs host Georgia.