Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Logan J. Webster)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - The University of Arkansas volleyball team posted a four-set win (25-23, 25-23, 22-25, 25-23) over Georgia Sunday afternoon at Barnhill Arena. The Razorbacks' offense was buoyed by a pair of 18-kill performances from senior Hayley Koop and junior Meredith Hays while senior libero Emily Helm registered 23 digs. With the win, Arkansas improves to 13-7 overall and 6-3 in Southeastern Conference play.
"Every win in the SEC is a good win," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "(Georgia) came ready to play us and we came ready to play ball. We were able to go up 2-0 after two really good sets. Both teams really battled back and forth. Georgia made a good run in the third set and got really good momentum going into the fourth set but our players were able to settle down. I'm proud of the way we settled in and got it done in the end."
Koop tied her career high Sunday with her 18 kills and posted a .412 hitting percentage. It was her seventh match of the season with double-digit kills and at least a .300 hitting percentage. Helm now has seven matches with 20 or more digs this season, four of which have come during conference play. Senior Raymariely Santos tallied her team-leading eighth double-double of the season with 27 assists and 12 digs.
With the score tied at 18-18 in the opening set, the Razorbacks won three of the next four points to take their first lead of the game. Georgia (14-6, 4-4 SEC) responded with a four-point surge to go back ahead, 23-21. Arkansas ended the set with a four-point run of its own, capping the game with a service ace from freshman Breana Jones and a kill through the Bulldog block by Meredith Hays.
The score was tied at 19-all in the second set when Georgia put together a three-point run to take the lead. The Razorbacks rallied to win five of the final six points to take a 2-0 match lead into intermission. Freshman Ana Sofia Jusino put down three kills in the final six points played included the game winner.
Arkansas lost the third game and faced a 16-12 deficit in the fourth but won seven of the next 10 points to pull even at 19-all after a UGA attack error. The set was tied at each point after that until the 23-23 mark. The Razorback outside hitters tallied the final two points of the match with consecutive kills from Hays and Koop, respectively. Defensively, Helm collected nine of her 23 digs in the fourth set.