Rachel Rippee

Freshman Rachel Rippee sets the ball for senior Breana Jones. The Razorbacks lost three of four sets to the Auburn Tigers on Sunday.

The Razorback volleyball team dropped its second game of the weekend Sunday, when the visiting Auburn Tigers won the match in four sets.

“It’s one of those things where you are (giving effort) in the right direction,” Arkansas head coach Jason Watson said. “We were playing better longer as cliché as that is.”

Auburn won the highly contested first set 25-21. Both teams battled throughout the match, exchanging points back-and-forth.

The Tigers used a four-point run late in the set to take the lead for good after there were seven lead changes in the set. Auburn freshman Gwyn Jones led the way for the Tiger offense with eight kills on only nine attempts in the first set.

Both teams hit an impressive percentage mark with Auburn hitting .429 and Arkansas hitting .467 percent.

The Hogs responded in the second set, taking it by a score of 25-23. Arkansas led for a majority of the set, but allowed Auburn to comeback late before Danielle Harbin and Breana Jones sealed the win with a block.

“We passed much better in game two,” Watson said. “In game one, we were hitting at this really nice clip, our offense was really efficient, but we gave up so many points in services and that turned out to be the difference.”

The Hogs defense kept them afloat in the second set with the team notching a set-high three blocks and 15 digs to keep the Tigers hitting percentage to a negative .026 percent.

The third set went to the Tigers 25-20 after Jones’ shot bounced off the arms of Arkansas’ Jones and Barbara Dapic out of bounds.

The Hogs biggest downfall in the third set was errors. They doubled their attack errors, recording seven in the third while only having six combined in the first two sets.

That coupled with the Tigers’ 9-3 run late in the third cost the Razorbacks the third set.

Auburn took the final set by the largest margin of victory on the day 25-19. The Hogs led at the halfway point 15-14, but the Tigers came out of the break and rolled off five straight points to take a commanding lead.

“We are just giving up big chunks of points especially in that game four,” Watson said. “There was a nice little battle going on, then after the media timeout we get outscored 11-4 at home and that’s kind of tough. We have to let some of these distractions, like timeouts that are a part of the game, not affect us. It seems that it’s been a reoccurring theme.”

Arkansas’ Jones was second on the team in kills with 11 and was tied for the lead with five block assists to pace the defense for the Hogs.

The Tigers had many mistakes with game-highs of 27 attack errors and 11 service errors, but it was Arkansas’ mistakes that cost them. The team had seven return errors to Auburn’s zero.

Arkansas will next play when they take on Mississippi State at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Barnhill Arena. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

Alex Nicoll was the editor-in-chief of the Arkansas Traveler from 2017-2019. Before that, Alex was a sport designer, and he wrote stories for the news, lifestyles and sports sections.

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