After suffering three straight losses in the San Diego Invitational over the weekend, the Razorbacks were able to bounce back with a 3-1 home victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff Tuesday evening.
With the Hog Wild Band feeding energy into Barnhill Arena and students filling the stands to support the Razorbacks, Arkansas already had the momentum over the 0-6 Lions going into the first set.
The first set began with a nice kill from freshman standout Jillian Gillen. After the Razorbacks took a 3-0 lead, Pine Bluff head coach Chelsey Lucas wanted a timeout to help her team regroup.
Both teams went back and forth early in the first set, but Arkansas would eventually go on a run to win 25-13. Sophomore Ellease Crumpton, who proved to be a vocal leader for the Razorbacks, recorded all four Arkansas blocks in the first set. Gillen managed to get four kills, as well.
The second set proved to be a tougher test for the Razorbacks, as Pine Bluff came out of the break in a dominant fashion. The Lions would take an early 6-2 lead, forcing Arkansas head coach Jason Watson to call a timeout. Watson began to vocalize his displeasure as Arkansas continued to struggle in the second set.
The Razorbacks would even up the score at 17-17, but Pine Bluff would prevail, taking the second set by a score of 25-21.
Watson’s words appeared to inspire his team during the break, as they came out firing on all cylinders. The Razorbacks looked poised on defense throughout the set, holding Pine Bluff to a score of 12-5 and forcing a second called timeout by Lucas.
Pine Bluff showcased a stronger fighting mentality after the timeout as freshman Reagan Williams, who led the team in kills with seven, played dominant defense to bring the score within two. Lucas would challenge a controversial call on a tipped ball play, but the refs ruled in favor of Arkansas.
After the challenge, the Razorbacks would go on a 10-0 run to defeat the Lions in the third set by a score of 25-13.
A 10-2 run was about as good of a start as the Razorbacks could ask for in the fourth set, and that is just what they received. The Lions would not go away though, bringing the score to 17-14 with the help of great defense and leadership by sophomore Kaila Robinson.
Junior Savannah Downing (three assists) and sophomore Maia Stripp (11 kills) came off the bench to provide the Razorbacks with critical minutes in the fourth set. Arkansas would start to pull away as fans rose to their feet after a powerful kill by Crumpton pushed the score to 24-17.
The Lions gave Arkansas a scare toward the end of the set, but the Razorbacks took a 25-19 win in the fourth, giving Arkansas a 3-1 victory over Pine Bluff.
The Razorbacks dominated the Lions on the stat sheet, recording 56 total kills and 13 team blocks, while the Lions were only able to manage 29 total kills and eight team blocks.
Arkansas moves to a record on the season of 4-3 (0-0), while Arkansas-Pine Bluff falls to 0-7(0-0) on the year.
The Razorbacks will travel to College Park, Maryland, where they will face the Maryland Terrapins on Friday. They will play Princeton and George Mason in a double-header Saturday.