Lady'Backs Fall To Kansas

FAYETTEVILLE -- Kansas won the first two games, then hung on to defeat a spirited young Arkansas volleyball team 30-20, 30-26, 23-30, 30-25 before 705 fans in Barnhill Arena on Wednesday night.

It was the opener for both teams.

Kansas, 22-11 last season, used its superior height to maintain control much of the way, but the Lady Razorbacks battled for every point in the late going.

"It was a great match for the fans to watch," said Arkansas coach Chris Poole. "We're disappointed in not winning, but half our team is new and it takes time."

Arkansas freshman Jessica Dorrell, filling in for injured Kele Brewer, led her team with 15 kills and matched Josi Lima for the game high in that department.

Amy Allison, whose previous best was nine kills for Arkansas, had 13 kills and five blocks in a solid all-around effort.

"I liked the way I hit the ball," Allison said.

Kansas coach Ray Bechard, a longtime friend of Poole's, said the drive from Lawrence, Kan., was easy and he would like to continue the series, which is tied 1-1. Arkansas won at Kansas last season.

"This game should help both teams' RPI rating," Poole said. "We would like to continue the relationship."

Kansas brought a good number of fans, but Allison credited the home fans with getting the Lady'Backs back into the match.

"When they got excited, we got excited, too," Allison said.

Dorrell added, "In a huddle, we said, 'Let's just play.' We had a lot of fun the last two games. We got a feel of how we needed to play as a team."

Ashley Michaels had 11 kills and Jana Correa had 10 for Kansas, a third-place team in the Big 12 last season. The Jayhawks out-hit Arkansas, .222 to .158.

Poole was disappointed in Arkansas' passing, which allowed Kansas to read the UA offense easily.

"Kansas did a great job of blocking in the first game," Poole said. "They're a good serving team also. Our serving was better tonight than it was in the alumni match on Saturday."

Denny Koleva had nine kills for Arkansas and Jennifer Haaser and Karla Crose had eight each, but the Lady'Backs missed Brewer, an All-SEC freshman last season who will be out 10 more days with a stress fracture in her foot.

"Everyone is going to target Haaser and double-team her this year," Poole said. "Brewer will give us more options on offense, but I thought Dorrell played an outstanding match tonight for her first time."

Freshmen Kelli Cole and Ashley Miller also made their debuts for Arkansas. Freshman Christina Lawrence, who also plays basketball, will likely redshirt in volleyball.

Chelsey Warmack led Arkansas with 20 digs, including one while lying on the floor.

"Sometimes that's all you've got," Warmack said.

Iva Docekalova had nine digs and 41 assists in her new role as a setter for the Lady'Backs.

Haaser had three service aces in a row at one point in the third game, and five for the match.

Arkansas goes to Santa Clara, Calif, this weekend to play Pacific on Friday and Santa Clara on Saturday.

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