So Close

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas could not have been closer to a big Southeastern Conference volleyball win then they were Friday night against Tennessee in Barnhill Arena. Arkansas (6-18, 3-11 SEC) lost one of the hardest-fought battles of the season to Tennessee (18-8, 11-4 SEC) 27-29, 29-31, 18 -25. The Razorbacks hit .244 for the match with Kelli Stipanovich and Kristin Seaton each posting 12 kills. Seaton hit a career-best .550 while Stipanovich hit .276 with four digs in the loss. Senior Christina Lawrence added nine kills and three blocks for Arkansas. The match featured 35 ties and 10 lead changes for the three sets but Tennessee managed to edge the Razorbacks hitting .324 with four players in double figures. “That was some exciting volleyball tonight,” said Arkansas head coach Robert Pulliza. “We didn’t win the match but we did some great things tonight. We continue to get better and the staff is so pleased with the effort tonight.” The first set was close from the opening serve. Pulliza called his final timeout up 24-23. Tennessee answered with a block from the break and the teams traded points until they were again tied at 27. The Lady Vols scored the last two points to win the first set. Arkansas hit .389 in the first set paced by Stipanovich with seven kills and a .600 hitting percentage in the first set. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more in that set,” said Pulliza. “The team and staff gave everything they had – it just didn’t go our way.” The second set was a mirror image of the first with Seaton stepping up with seven kills in the set. But again, the Razorbacks came up just short. Arkansas tied the second set when the Lady Vols were called for a net violation but a kill and an Arkansas hitting error again let the win slip away. “So close,” said Pulliza. “We just didn’t get a break.” Beaten and battered, both teams were a little less energized in the third frame. Arkansas was solid hitting .226 but Tennessee was just better hitting .361 as the Lady Vols were controlled down the stretch. Arkansas continues its home stand hosting No. 19 Kentucky Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The Wildcats lost at Ole Miss in five sets Friday night.