The Arkansas Razorback volleyball team (10-4) dominated in a weekend series at Barnhill Arena against the Alabama Crimson Tide (4-10) taking both matches, 3-0 Friday and 3-1 Saturday.
The Razorbacks cruised to victory in the first match Friday, winning three games to zero. Alabama was not able to score more than 20 points in any game.
“I don’t think there has been one major deciding factor, other than the need to be clean,” head coach Jason Watson said on his team’s key to victory. “For us, clean is not the absence of errors, just making the best decision in a certain circumstance. As the season progresses, that’s an area we continue to upgrade. We need to avoid giving our opponent easy points, but make them work hard to score.”
The first two games were all Hogs. Arkansas led the entire first game, winning 25-13. The second game was more competitive early on with Alabama tying the score a few times, but the Razorbacks came out on top, 25-14.
The lead was volleyed in game three, with four ties and two lead changes, but ultimately Arkansas came out on top 25-19 to sweep the match. Freshman Taylor Head led the team with 14 total points in the match.
“Serving played a big part in this weekend's series,” Watson said. “I liked the way we served and the pressure it put on Alabama. We stayed true to our serving plan. Devyn Wheeler had a great weekend for us as well. Her and Ellease (Crumpton) had an effective blocking weekend.”
Arkansas won the match Saturday three games to one. Arkansas took the first game 25-18. The Tide was able to tie the score a few times, but never captured a lead.
The Razorbacks took game two 25-17. The teams traded the lead early –– the score was tied seven times and the lead changed three times.
Alabama won its first game of the series in game three, and was able to prevent the Razorbacks from sweeping the series six games to zero. Alabama led the entire game and won 25-18.
Arkansas was able to seal the deal in game four with a 25-21 win over Alabama, despite three lead changes.
Alabama came on strong at the end of the series, but it was too little too late. The Tide scored 20 or more in only the last two of the seven total games.
Sophomore Jillian Gillen led the Razorbacks with 25.5 points in the second match, including 19 kills.
Next for the Arkansas Razorbacks, they will travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to face the LSU Tigers on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 18 and 19. Both games will start at 7 p.m.
“We feel pretty good about where we are at this point in the season,” Watson said. “Our next road series is going to test us. LSU is playing well right now. There are a couple of small systems details we need to upgrade heading into that series. It’s a short week of practice for us, but I feel our athletes are engaged and certainly willing to make upgrades.”