Volleyball hosts Auburn Sunday

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team hosts Auburn University in Southeastern Conference action at 1:30 p.m. in Barnhill Arena. The Razorbacks (5-15, 2-8 SEC) are making their way through the league schedule for the second time this season and face a Tiger (5-16, 0-10 SEC) team that is winless through the first half. “Auburn might not have a win in the SEC but that just makes them all the more hungry to get it done,” said Arkansas head coach Robert Pulliza. “We had a very tough match with them at their place and it went five sets. They feel like they can play with us and I think Sunday will be a very good battle and a chance for fans to see some really good volleyball.” Arkansas enters play Sunday in search of a win. The Razorbacks have dropped three in a row despite playing well at times. “We show flashes of being really good,” said Pulliza. “We just haven’t been able to maintain that for any length of time.” The Razorbacks have relied on the senior leadership of Christina Lawrence this season. The Sullivan, Mo., native leads the team with a .287 hitting percentage and has been the on-the-court leader as well. Sophomore Hillary McCormick has stepped up in recent contests and is second on the team with a .243 hitting efficiency while freshman Kelli Stipanovich leads the team with 220 kills and 3.10 kills-per-set. Senior Yun Tang is pacing the Arkansas block and ranks second in the SEC with 1.18 blocks-per-set. Sophomore Heather Royal and junior Kristin Season have ridden the wave of Arkansas’ ups and downs and both have played significant minutes this season. Arkansas’ balanced attack has seen every player on the roster contribute at various points in nearly every set. The defense, anchored by freshman libero Phoebe Bautista, gets a boost from Lauren Fielding and Mackenzie Rhea and both setters, senior Caira Dortch and Lindsay Scanlan, have captained the team on the floor. The Razorbacks hit the road next weekend traveling to Florida and South Carolina before returning home hosting Tennessee and Kentucky as the season continues.