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Jillian Gillen, a UA sophomore, during a game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville where they played a series of games Oct. 17-18. The Razorback volleyball team started the season strong with two winds against the Bulldogs.

The Arkansas women’s volleyball team swept the Mississippi State Bulldogs over the weekend to start the condensed season 2-0. The Razorbacks won both contests against the Bulldogs in five sets.

Arkansas lost the first set 25-18, on Saturday but won the second and third sets, 25-15 and 25-23, to go up 2-1. The Bulldogs would fight back to win the fourth set 25-23 but the Razorbacks prevented the Bulldogs comeback coming to fruition by winning the last set 15-11.

The Hogs lost the first two sets Sunday 25-23, and 25-19 before winning three straight sets. Arkansas rallied to win the third set and took its first lead of the game when redshirt junior Hailey Dirrigl delivered with a kill, making the score 30-29. Senior Elizabeth Pamphile got the next point when she hammered the ball down for the final point of the set, giving the Hogs a 31-29 victory in the third set.

The fourth set was tight as it came down to the final point. Pamphile earned a point off an assist from junior Gracie Ryan to give the Hogs a 24-23 lead. Lauren Evans, a junior for the Razorbacks, set up freshman Taylor Head for a kill finishing up the set 25-23.

With both teams tied at two sets apiece, the fifth set was as tight as the last two. The Bulldogs jumped ahead with a 10-8 lead early but the Razorbacks would not go away. Pamphile stayed active as she tied the score at 13. Sophomore Jillian Gillen delivered consecutive kills to secure the victory for the Hogs.

Gillen is confident the team will get better as the season goes on, she said.

“I’m so proud of the team we will become this year. This is only the beginning and we have more to give,” Gillen said in a press conference with Razorback athletics.

Razorback head coach Jason Watson said he was pleased with his team's performance, but knows the team will need to continue to improve as the season progresses.

“I am so proud of our team for finding a way,” Watson said. “We have work to do and now we get a bye week to do just that, I feel we have a lot more room for improvement over the length of the season and I’m excited to see how we grow week after week.”

The Razorbacks will host the Ole Miss Rebels at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, and at the same time the following Sunday, Nov. 1. Arkansas is looking to stay unbeaten in its first contest home contest of the season at Barnhill Arena.

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