Razorbacks Win All Three Games to Become Invitational Champs
The UA volleyball team became the champions of the Arkansas Invitational after defeating UT-Martin, Northwestern State and Kansas Aug. 24-25 in Barnhill Arena.
Seniors Roslandy Acosta and Jasmine Norton and junior Raymariely Santos were named to the All-Tournament Team. Norton was also chosen as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Arkansas and Kansas played the Invitational-winning match Saturday evening in four sets. Arkansas lost the first set 18-25 but rallied back in the next three sets, winning 27-25, 26-24 and 25-21.
Acosta managed 16 kills and nine digs against Kansas, while Norton made 16 digs and earned a .308 hitting percentage. Santos completed the game with 48 assists, six kills and six digs. Junior libero Emily Helm made a team-high 19 digs.
In the second set of the game, Norton secured fifth place on the list of Arkansas’ all-time kills before finishing the game with a grand total of 1,390 in her career.
Kansas had set point at 24-23 in the third set, but was denied the win when Acosta sent over a kill, allowing Arkansas to grab the points needed to come back.
The fourth set found Kansas leading for a majority of the game until the Jayhawks made a service error. Arkansas finished out the game on their first set point with a kill by Acosta.
“It was a great match tonight,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “Kansas is a very good team. I’m a true believer that they will be an NCAA Tournament team. I’m really proud of our kids and the way they fought. I’m really proud of them for the way they kept their poise and finished the match.”
Acosta had a career-high 15 kills in the Razorbacks’ game against Northwestern State earlier that day, which the Hogs won in four sets (25-17, 22-25, 26-24, 25-20.)
Senior Janeliss Torrez-Lopez blocked a match-high of eight times and made 11 kills.
After a Northwestern State timeout during the first set, the Razorbacks earned a 23-15 lead due in part to two blocks by Torres-Lopez. Arkansas finished out the set with a kill by Norton.
The Lady Demons retaliated in the second set, forcing an Arkansas attack error and timeout. When the score reached 20-all, Northwestern State won five of the last seven points to earn the set win.
Arkansas won the third set by scoring the last three points after Northwestern’s first set point.
The Razorbacks maintained a fairly steady lead in the fourth set, ending with a block on Arkansas’ first set point for the win.
“I think we came out ready for an early match,” Pulliza said. “We started out ready to play ball but then we got a little too relaxed. We just have to keep working at being consistent.”
The Razorbacks played their season’s opening game – and their only game won in three sets – against UT-Martin Friday evening. Six of the players had at least six kills.
Freshman Liz Fortado made her collegiate debut in the game with a match-high five total blocks. Santos assisted 25 times and earned a team-high 13 digs.