Arkansas Defeats Mizzou in Straight Sets Sunday
The Razorback volleyball team defeated the Missouri Tigers in three sets Sunday afternoon in Barnhill Arena.
The Hogs improved to 18-6 on the season and 9-4 in the Southeastern Conference while the Tigers fell to 15-8 and 5-4 in the SEC.
“I thought we played really, really well today and the numbers show that,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “Not only did we play really well, but we played like a team.”
Arkansas ended the match with 45 kills to Missouri’s 33 and 41 digs to Missouri’s 30.
Junior Ashley Vazquez started at the setter position for the first time Sunday and ended the match with 38 assists.
“The setter is like the quarterback of the team and she is a great quarterback. We’ve known that for a long time; that’s why she’s here,” Pulliza said of Vazquez.
“We’re all always training hard,” Vazquez said. “You never know when you’re going to have to step in for someone.”
Early in the first set, the Razorbacks and the Tigers looked evenly matched. Arkansas started to pull away later in the set but Mizzou kept the game close all the way to the end. The final score of the set was 25-23.
In the first set, the Tigers out-performed the Hogs in hitting percentage, ending with a .379 average compared to the Razorbacks with a .355 average. The Razorbacks had 12 digs to the Tigers’ 10 and the Hogs had 16 kills to the Tigers’ 13.
The second and third sets were dominated by Arkansas. The final score of the second was 25-13 and the final score of the third set was 25-15.
The Hogs dramatically improved their hitting average to .593 in the second set but then dropped back down to a .286 in the third set.
“We knew going into this that we only got one shot at beating Missouri, so we just worked and grinded,” senior Jasmine Norton said.
Norton, Amanda Anderson and Roslandy Acosta, all of whom are seniors, each accounted for kills numbering in the double digits.
“We have seniors who are hungry,” Pulliza said. “They played hungry today, from beginning to end. That guided us and drove us in terms of energy and that was how we got it done.”
The victory over Mizzou marks Arkansas’ fourth win in a row as the Razorbacks head into the final stretch of the season.
“These last few games are huge, especially to us seniors,” Anderson said. “It’s our last chance to play in Barnhill; there’s nothing like playing in Barnhill.”
The Razorbacks travel to Auburn, Ala.,Friday to play the Tigers before heading to College Station, Texas, Sunday to take on the Texas A&M Aggies.