Stipanovich Lawrence earn all-tournament team
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Senior Christina Lawrence and freshman Kelli Stipanovich earned all-tournament team honors Saturday but the University of Arkansas volleyball team fell just short of its goal dropping the final match of the 2008 Arkansas Invitational in Barnhill Arena. Stipanovich paced Arkansas all weekend finishing with 42 kills, hitting .269, with 22 digs and .018 blocks-per-game. Lawrence added 25 kills, 2.27 kills-per-game, hit .246 with 2.36 digs-per-game and 0.64 blocks-per-game. “I can’t say enough about the play of Lawrence and Kelli,” said Arkansas head coach Robert Pulliza. “We had some good individual performances but just didn’t get it done down the stretch. It was disappointing to lose that final match.” Arkansas finished second in the tournament standings with a 2-1 record while Virginia Tech won the tournament after defeating Arkansas (3-7) in the nightcap 23-25, 25-19, 16-25, 25-19, 7-15. Stipanovich had a team-best 16 kills, hit. 244 and had four digs in the loss while Lawrence added 11 kills, hit .267 and had five digs and two blocks for Arkansas. Junior Destiny Clark also played well with eight kills, a .286 hitting performance and a team-leading six blocks. Arkansas hit just .194 as a team in the final match as the team struggled to close the close sets. The teams were tied at 23 in set one after a kill from sophomore Heather Royal but a kill followed by a Virginia Tech block gave VT the win. The Razorbacks were much better in the second set but again struggled in the third frame hitting just .087 as a team while Virginia Tech exploded with a .467 performance. Arkansas rallied for a dominating performance of its own in the fourth set out-hitting its opponent .462-.207 but the Razorbacks tighten up mid-way through the final set. Tied at five, Arkansas gave away three quick points before teams exchanged benches at the mid-point. It was all Virginia Tech from that point as Arkansas had three unforced errors to help their opponents’ cause. Arkansas opened the day with a three set victory over Tennessee-Martin, 25-22, 29-27, 25-20. The Razorbacks posted a season-best 76 digs while tallying 51 kills with a .282 hitting percentage. Stipanovich paced Arkansas with a match-best 15 kills. Royal added 10 kills and hit .308 with 20 digs. Arkansas opens Southeastern Conference play at Auburn Friday at 7 p.m. The match airs live in Northwest Arkansas on KXUA 88.3 FM and on the internet at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.