Entering the weekend, the Razorback volleyball team had not won a set against the Kentucky Wildcats since 2013. The Razorbacks won four of ten in a tough pair of five-set losses Friday and Saturday.
The defending national champion Wildcats entered the weekend unbeaten in Southeastern Conference matches since 2019 and continued that trend against the Hogs.
The Razorbacks (14-6, 5-4) were enjoying a resurgent season and gave the No. 5 Wildcats (15-3, 8-0) all they could handle in each of the weekend’s matches. The Hogs had multiple match-point chances in Saturday’s contest, but failed to put Kentucky away, losing a hard-fought fifth and final set by just two points.
Junior Jillian Gillen led the VolleyHogs with 17 kills Friday, while sophomore Taylor Head added a double-double with 14 kills and 16 digs, a team high.
Freshman setter Hannah Hogue saw her first regular season action Friday and tallied nine assists, second to senior Gracie Ryan, who had 42. Ryan also had 16 digs for her 11th double-double of the season.
Arkansas battled back from an 0-2 deficit in the series opener against the Wildcats and won the third and fourth sets 27-25 and 25-19. The comeback fell just short as Kentucky took set five 15-8 and the match 3-2.
Gillen again led the Hogs with 19 kills Saturday and was the top performer of the weekend with 36 total. She matched her season high for aces on Saturday with four. Head recorded her second double-double of the series with 16 kills and 18 digs.
After Kentucky had controlled most of the action in Friday’s fifth set, Saturday was a different story. The Hogs and Wildcats battled to nine ties and pushed the last set to an extra point.
With match point on the line, the Cats delivered another kill, ending the fifth set 16-14 to secure the series sweep.
The Hogs will return to Barnhill Arena for a midweek matchup against the Missouri Tigers at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The match will be broadcast live on the SEC Network.