Nov. 6, 2011
AUBURN - Arkansas earned a season sweep over the Auburn volleyball team on Sunday, defeating the Tigers 3-0 (20-25, 18-25, 19-25) at the Student Activities Center.
Auburn fell to 10-16 (4-12 SEC) for the year; Arkansas improved to 17-9 (9-6 SEC) and stays within a game of LSU for the SEC West lead.
Arkansas' Jasmine Norton led all hitters with 15 kills. Christa Alvarez had a match-high 11 digs while Kelly Stipanovich added 10.
For the Tigers, Brittney Rhude led the way with eight kills, one shy of a season-high, and Courtney McDonald added six. Sarah Bullock paced the Auburn defense with eight digs; she also had five kills. McDonald led Auburn with three blocks.
Auburn struggled in the service game with 11 errors on the day along with two aces; Arkansas recorded three aces with just five errors. The Tigers were out-hit .307 to .162 and recorded a season-low 29 digs. Arkansas had just four more kills than the Tigers (40-36), but Auburn had six more errors and hit into nine blocks.
Auburn scored the first point of the first set on a kill from Vesela Zapryanova, and it would be their only lead of the match. Arkansas pulled ahead to a 10-6 advantage and then a 16-10 edge, forcing Auburn timeouts on both occasions. The Razorback advantage would climb to as many as 10 points at 21-11 before the Tigers went on a 6-0 run to cut the score to 21-17. But three of the Hogs' final four points would come on Auburn service errors as Arkansas took a 25-20 win in the first.
The second set was mostly poorly played by both sides - the teams combined for 16 attack errors - but Arkansas was able to take advantage of five Tiger service errors and a pair of ball handling errors to earn a 25-18 win and a 2-0 advantage in the match. The Razorbacks scored the first six points and never looked back as Auburn never pulled any closer than three points the rest of the way. Arkansas hit a paltry .038 in the set, but Auburn was in negative numbers at -.029.
Much like the first two sets, Arkansas jumped out to a big lead in the third and never looked back en route to a 25-19 clinching win. The Razorbacks had a game-high 19 kills and hit .421 in the set; Auburn hit a very respectable .312 with 13 kills, but the Arkansas service game continued to keep the Tigers off-balance. Rhude and Kathia Rud each had four kills and no errors to lead the Tigers in the final frame.
The Tigers will have a week to regroup before their next match. SEC West foe Mississippi State will visit next Sunday, Nov. 13, for a 1 p.m. match at the Student Activities Center. The contest will be televised regionally by SportSouth.