Razorback Volleyball Prepares for Tournament
The Razorback Volleyball team is coming off two consecutive losses after losing to Michigan in five sets Saturday and Oklahoma in four sets Tuesday night.
This weekend the Razorback Invitational will be played in Barnhill Arena, in which the Razorbacks face Houston Baptist on Friday night before facing Louisiana-Monroe and Texas-El Paso on Saturday.
These three games will be Arkansas’ last nonconference games before they begin conference play Sept. 14. The Razorbacks’ first two Southeastern Conference opponents — Florida and Tennessee — are currently ranked No. 15 and No. 16 respectively.
Razorback head coach Robert Pulliza says there are a lot of things he wants to see out of his team this weekend before they enter SEC play.
“I want to see fight, hard work, and commitment to being great,” Pulliza said. “You can’t teach that; at some point you just have to know you want to be great and go at it everyday.”
Looking ahead to Arkansas’ opponents for the weekend, Houston Baptist currently has a 6-2 record with losses coming at the hands of North Texas and Louisiana Lafayette. The Huskies are on a three-game winning streak.
Louisiana-Monroe is 3-2 with their losses coming to Mississippi State and Kennesaw State, but the Warhawks have won their last three matches.
Texas-El Paso’s record on the season thus far is 2-4 with their only wins coming against Belmont and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The Razorbacks have plenty of talent that has already been showcased throughout this season.
Junior libero Emily Helm was named SEC Defensive Player of the week last week after two games in which she accounted for 20 plus digs. Senior Jasmine Norton is on track to become one of the leaders on Arkansas’ all-time kills list.
“This is the first time we feel we have a group that understands what they need to do and what needs to happen for them to be successful,” Pulliza said. “They get to make that choice of how good they want to be.”
This Arkansas team set long-term goals before the season started and truly believes they can accomplish them. It will be up to them to prepare themselves for their tough conference schedule during the tournament this weekend.
“Our team expectation is to win the SEC. I’m confident that we’re going to be able to do that with our training,” senior Amanda Anderson said
Earlier this week, Arkansas received votes in the NCAA volleyball rankings for the first time since 2004, before losing to Oklahoma on Tuesday.
“We want to get better every day,” Norton said of her team. “We really are one of the best teams in the nation and we just have to go out and prove that everyday.”