Despite a relentless 33-31 victory in the first set, the Razorbacks lost 3-1 to the N.21 Tennessee Lady Volunteers in the weekend’s opener between the two teams on Saturday.
Tennessee is now 1-0 in the SEC game, while Arkansas has one win and one loss, with an overall record of 10-3. The rematch between the Razorbacks and the Vols is scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m. and will be broadcast live on SEC Network.
Junior Jill Gillen made a double-double in the game with 21 kills and 13 digs. Sophomore Taylor Head matched Gillen in digs and also added 15 kills.
The game started with a 6-3 lead over Tennessee, and as Arkansas tied the score at seven it didn’t last long, and the Lady Vols used a 6-1 run to climb 13. -8. Out of the media timeout, the Razorbacks chained three points and took the lead, 16-15. As Tennessee continued to press, the Hogs held the lead from there. Tennessee then hit 24-23, and with a set point on the line, Arkansas headed for a timeout. After that, there were eight huge tie points. A service error from Tennessee made it 31-31 with an opportunity for Arkansas to shut it down. A Vols error pushed the score to 32-31, and a Gillen kill ended the extended set 33-31 in favor of the Razorbacks.
Arkansas took an 8-2 lead in the second set, and the Razorbacks continued to build on their lead until Tennessee tied the score at 13-13. The Lady Vols gained momentum and took their own lead at 19-15, which sent the Hogs to a timeout. Action remained tight with no team scoring more than two points, but Arkansas couldn’t catch up. A kill and a Tennessee ace put the set aside 25-19 for the Vols to tie the game 1-1.
The Hogs opened the fourth set with all their momentum and a 5-1 lead, which included two kills from Gillen and an ace from rookie Courtney Jackson. The Vols were quick to go 5-4, but the Razorbacks kept their foot on the gas and used a kill and a senior Lauren Evans ace to regain a three-point lead at 9-6. Arkansas held off Tennessee halfway through, but a Hogs serve error and Volunteers kill tied the score at 16-16. There were two more ties after that, but Tennessee definitely broke through with a 20-19 lead they would hold until the end. Arkansas added two more points, but the home side added five for the 25-21 win and 2-1 lead.
Other than scoring the first point, Arkansas never led in the deciding fourth set, and Tennessee showed no mercy. The Hogs couldn’t score more than one run at a time, and Arkansas requested a 20-11 timeout. The volunteers’ lead reached as high as 11 points as Tennessee headed for a 24-13 score. A Gillen kill stopped Tennessee’s momentum for a while, but an Arkansas error ended the set 25-14 for the Flights and the game 3-1. The Hogs reached just 0.033 against 0.500 for the home side in the fourth quarter.
The two teams will meet for the series final at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network and live stats will be provided by Tennessee.
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