The Razorbacks sovereignly opened the fall 2021 volleyball season on Friday when they beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 3-0 in the team’s first game at the Arkansas Classic.
Arkansas continued to build each round of the evening, finishing with set wins of 25-19, 25-16 and 25-11 at Barnhill Arena.
“I think we missed it sometimes, but I’m really glad we settled in and ended up playing really good volleyball there,” said head coach Jason Watson. “The challenge for us is to be able to do this longer.”
The Razorbacks were particularly efficient on the service line on Friday, counting a total of nine aces.
Junior Maggie Cartwright added four while Senior Ellease Crumpton added three. The duo were strong in all areas of the game as Cartwright led the team with a total of four blocks while Crumpton scored the second-best two. They also finished second and third on the kills: Crumpton with nine and Cartwright with eight.
Although the end result was a success, the game began as a bit of a challenge for the home team. Arkansas-Pine Bluff quickly took a 2-0 lead in the first set, and the teams played points back and forth until an Ellease kill brought Crumpton Arkansas to a 14-13 lead and started a 3-0 run. While Pine Bluff stayed nearby, a kill from Abigail Archibong and a kill and ace from Cartwright allowed the Razorbacks to retreat. Consecutive mistakes by the Lady Lions closed the door and Arkansas emerged with a 25:19 victory.
The Razorbacks were plagued by mistakes early in the middle frame and went on time-out 8-2. Arkansas responded with three straight points, kills from Cartwright and Junior Taylor Head and an ace from Crumpton, causing Pine-Bluff to take his own 10-6 time out. The momentum shifted and the Razorbacks added two kills from Head and another ace from Cartwright to lead 13-11. From there, Cartwright added two more aces and there was no slowdown for Arkansas. A Head kill ended the second set, 25-16 in favor of the home team.
The last set started tightly, but the Razorbacks picked up some momentum thanks to a kill from Head, Crumpton’s third ace of the night, and Lions mistakes. Arkansas-Pine Bluff took a break when Arkansas led 9-4. Archibong put down a big kill to increase the edge to 12-5 and it was all the razorbacks from there. Arkansas added two more aces, from freshman Courtney Jackson and senior Gracie Ryan, and the lead rose to 21-8. Pine Bluff added three more points, but Taylor Head closed things again for the 25-11 Razorback win.
Arkansas continues action at the Arkansas Classic on Saturday with two games. Pine Bluff and Little Rock start the day at 10 a.m., and Arkansas follows at noon with Louisiana Tech. Teams return at 5 p.m. to play with Pine Bluff and Louisiana Tech, and Arkansas and Little Rock at 7 p.m.
Both single and season tickets are still available. Fans can buy them HERE or by calling the Razorback Ticket Center at 479.575.5151.
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