Season-Bests Lead Razorbacks To Win
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A marathon match ended in a sprint as the University of Arkansas volleyball team earned a 5-set win over Southeastern Conference foe South Carolina in Barnhill Arena Friday night.
As expected, two 12-8 teams who are tied with each other for fifth place in the SEC, came together for an even match-up. The programs traded points and sets treating fans to five frames of hard-hitting action before Arkansas notched the 25-15, 20-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-8 win. The victory moves Arkansas to 13-8 overall and 8-3 in Barnhill Arena.
Taylor Head | Season-best 18 kills | 14 digs
Jillian Gillen | Match hit 19 kills | Season-best 19 digs
Devyn Wheeler | Match-high .526 (11-1-19)
The first four sets were close battles, but Arkansas sprinted out to a 7-2 lead in the final set and never looked back. The Razorbacks hit .533 with eight kills and no errors in the fast-paced final frame.
How They Got There
Aggressive serving by the Razorbacks took South Carolina out of their system and led to unforced errors in the first set. Arkansas only recorded two service aces, but the Gamecocks struggled with passing, committed eight hitting errors and recorded a -12% efficiency mark dropping the opening frame, 25-15. Arkansas hit .417 with 13 kills including a five-kill set from Taylor Head.
Carolina used the break to regroup and sprinted out to a 7-2 lead in the second set. They would never trail, stretching the margin to as much as eight points. The Razorbacks managed some mini-runs behind the arms of Head, Jillian Gillen and Devyn Wheeler but couldn’t overcome the Gamecocks’ fast start.
The third set was a back-and-forth battle until a pair of challenges went Arkansas’ way giving the Razorbacks a 15-13 lead at the first timeout. Carolina scratched back into the set and neither team was able to pull away in the second half of the stanza. Tied for the final time at 23-all, a South Carolina hitting error gave Arkansas the lead. The visitor burned its last timeout but Gillen’s ace sealed the 25-23 win.
South Carolina never trailed in the fourth set, jumping out to a 6-1 lead behind a .345 hitting performance that included 15 kills and two blocks. Arkansas challenged the Gamecocks, moving within a point, 16-15, but could never take the lead.
The Razorbacks and Gamecocks meet Saturday for the final regular season home match of the year. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. with Arkansas honoring six seniors who will play their final match in Barnhill Arena.
Watch Arkansas host South Carolina on Saturday: SEC Network Plus
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