Poole Interested In 'Net' Results

FAYETTEVILLE -- There was Arkansas volleyball coach Chris Poole in Barnhill Arena on Tuesday, four hours before the Oral Roberts-UA match, measuring the net and fussing with it like a baseball groundskeeper grooming his third-base line.

"Believe it or not, it's hard to get this thing just right," Poole explained. "It's supposed to be seven feet, four and one-eighth inches to the top of the net, all the way across."

Poole must be doing a good job with the net.

"Every official who comes in here tells me ours is the best," he said.

The trick is to get it tight enough that teams can play a ball off the net.

"We don't do that very well," Poole said. "You want to let it hit and then play it from below the net. We usually put it right into the net."

Tuesday night, though, the Lady'Backs netted a three-game sweep over ORU to advance to 13-10 for the season.

They play at Tennessee at 6 p.m. Friday and at South Carolina at 12:30 p.m. Sunday to try to improve their 9-3 Southeastern Conference record.

Both games will be broadcast on KXUA-88.3 FM. Sunday's game will be televised by Fox Sports Net South.

Poole said of Arkansas' 34-32 win in Game 3 over ORU, "We stayed calm. We didn't panic, and used our early-season experience."

Three of the four scenarios Arkansas' soccer team needed last weekend to advance to the SEC Tournament played out perfectly. But the fourth one didn't, as the Lady'Backs lost 3-0 at LSU.

Arkansas finished its season 6-11-2 (2-7-2 in the SEC) with seven losses and a tie in its last eight games. After an encouraging start, the Lady'Backs scored a total of just three goals in those last eight games.

"Two sides of my brain are working," said first-year UA coach Gordon Henderson. "The rational part appreciates the tremendous amount of positive change, and how competitive we were in every game in an incredibly tough league.

"The other side is very disappointed in not making the SEC Tournament. I'm gutted by the fact we didn't go."

So are the Lady'Backs, who sat in silence after the loss at LSU, fighting back tears.

"That's a great emotion to have when you've lost, because it shows they care," Henderson said.

Henderson talked about how close the Lady'Backs came to reaching postseason.

"With three minutes left against Kentucky, they scored on a corner kick," he said. "Then Tina Burger pinged one off the inside of the net for us.

"Against Auburn, we had a 1-on-1 with two minutes left. If we'd made that, we'd be in the SEC Tournament.

"But I'm very proud of our players. I think we overachieved this year."

Henderson said he has recruited more height and "a ton of speed" for next year's team.

"We can possess the ball all we want, but we've got to become more athletic," Henderson said.

Arkansas cross country coach Lance Harter said his runners have responded positively to meetings he had with them one hour after their runner-up finish to Tennessee in the SEC Meet on Saturday at Agri Park.

"They've made some adjustments in their thinking," Harter said. "We've made a plan and put it into action."

The No. 18 Lady'Backs must finish in the top-two of the South Central Regional Meet in Waco, Texas, on Nov. 13 to advance to the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 22.

Harter said he might make a change or two in his seven-woman lineup in Waco. But his top five from last week -- Alison Rush, Maureen Scott, Laura Jakosky, Kristina Smith and Jessie Gordon -- are on the traveling squad.

This Saturday, Arkansas' swimming team, minus its very capable divers, goes to a dual meet at Washington State, which has no divers.

"Ou dual swim meets will be difficult this year because our opponents are a lot deeper than we are," said UA coach Anne Goodman James. "But I was very impressed last week with how much heart this team has."

The Lady'Backs lost to LSU, Alabama and Tulane last week, while trouncing New Orleans.

"Our numbers are down because of injuries and huge graduation, yet we had some individuals put their heart on the line," Goodman James said. "This group has unbelievable determination."

Zsuzsa Csobanki, Arkansas' Olympic swimmer from Budapest, Hungary, missed an NCAA qualifying mark by just .03 in the 50 freestyle, at 23.59.

The Lady'Backs have 14 scholarships for swimming, but a couple of athletes are redshirting with injuries this season.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories