FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - Down a set and facing an 8-0 deficit in the game two, the University of Arkansas volleyball team rallied to beat Auburn in four sets (21-25, 29-27, 25-12, 25-16) Sunday afternoon at Barnhill Arena. With the win, the Razorbacks improve to 11-5 on the season and 4-1 in Southeastern Conference play. After a tough start, the Arkansas offense registered a .522 hitting percentage over the final two sets of Sunday's match.
"Today was a very gutsy performance from our players," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "We didn't start the match playing very well and the first halves of the first two sets weren't very good. We were flat but we worked hard in the second half of those first two sets. The first one didn't come our way but the second one did. From there, we got things moving and I'm proud of our players for finding a way on a tough day."
Senior libero Emily Helm continued her strong weekend behind the Arkansas block with a match-high 20 digs against the Tigers. The Queen Creek, Ariz., native totaled 52 digs over the past two matches and averaged 5.08 digs per set during the Razorbacks' three matches this week. At the net, Arkansas had three players with at least three blocks and totaled 13.0 team blocks in the match.
After a first-set rally fell short, the Razorbacks were forced into comeback mode to start game two when Auburn (9-7, 0-4 SEC) won the first eight points of the second frame. Arkansas eventually pulled even at 17-all after a kill from junior Meredith Hays but the Tigers re-established control and had four set points at 24-20. The home team responded with a five-point run to arrive at its first set point. On the team's fourth opportunity to even the match, Hays found the floor to give her team a 29-27 set win.
After a 25-12 win in set three, Arkansas mirrored its quick start to set four, jumping out to a 10-3 lead after consecutive blocks. Auburn never got closer than four points and after a service error gave the Razorbacks match point, Hays clinched the match win with a kill. She and freshman Breana Jones led the team with 16 and 12 kills, respectively.
The Razorbacks return to action next weekend, beginning with a Friday match against Alabama at Barnhill Arena. First serve of the contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CT) in Fayetteville. Arkansas will then travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on the Lady Vols in a match that will be televised by SportSouth and Fox Sports.