Volleyball Tigers fall to Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- After winning the first game, the LSU volleyball team dropped three straight close games in a 26-30, 20-24, 30-27, 31-29, loss to Arkansas on the road at Barnhill Arena on Wednesday night.

With the loss, the Tigers fall to 13-3 overall and 3-2 in Southeastern Conference play. The win moves the Lady Razorbacks to 11-5 on the season and 4-1 in league play.

"I thought Arkansas played very well," said LSU head coach Fran Flory. "Arkansas outlasted us tonight and proved to be the more resilient team."

In the first game, the Tigers outscored Arkansas late in the game to come away with the win. The Lady'Backs took a big lead in game two, but LSU came back to make it tight before Arkansas evened the match at one game each. In the third game, Arkansas scored the final two points to seal the win. After trailing by as many as five, the Tigers held game point in the fourth game, 29-26, but the Lady Razorbacks scored five straight to earn the game and the match.

"For a team to come back and send it to game point like we did, you have to credit Arkansas for battling back," said Flory. "They won all the long rallies tonight and the team that does that usually wins the match."

Senior Jelena Mijatovic led the Match with 22 kills and also posted 11 digs for a double-double. Freshman Kyna Washington also recorded a double-double with 16 kills and 13 digs. Both Tiger setters, Daniela Romero and Heather Fierce, posted double-doubles with 25 assists, 13 digs and 27 assists, 15 digs respectively. Senior Ivana Kuzmic led LSU with nine blocks, one away from her fourth double-figure blocking match of the season.

The match was won in the blocking by Arkansas. The Lady Razorbacks posted 20 blocks, including 18 after game one. Amy Allison led Arkansas with 13 blocks, while also recording 12 digs. Kele Brewer led the Lady'Backs with 15 digs, followed by Denitza Koleva with 13 and Karla Crose with 11. Ashley Miller led the match with 24 digs for Arkansas, followed by 15 from Koleva.

"Their first contact ball control was better than we expected," said Flory. "Their libero took over passing and we could not get anything going with our serving game. Arkansas worked on their blocking this week and it certainly showed. We had to alter our offense because of it and it frustrated our hitters because when they weren't getting blocked, they were being dug. "

In the first game, the Tigers jumped out to a 7-3 lead. LSU led by as many as five, 10-5, before Arkansas came back to cut the lead to one, 13-12. The Tigers stretched the lead to three, but the Lady Razorbacks came back to tie it up at 20 all. With LSU leading 25-24, the Tigers outscored Arkansas 5-2 to close out the game, 30-26, on a kill by Washington, her seventh of game one.

The Lady'Backs came out and jumped on top of LSU early in the second game and extended their lead to as many as 11, 16-5, using five blocks in that span. The Tigers would not write off the game, fighting back to within four, 25-21, but could get no closer. Arkansas went on to take the game, 30-24, and even the match at one game apiece.

With the pair tied at six in the third game, Arkansas took the lead for good, 7-6. The Lady'Backs stretched their lead to as many as seven, 20-13, but LSU battled back. The Tigers cut the Arkansas lead to one, 26-25, on back-to-back aces by Mijatovic. With LSU trailing 28-27, Arkansas scored the final two points of the game on an error by Kuzmic and a kill by Koleva.

In the fourth game, the Tigers fell behind, 8-4, but came back to tie it up and take the lead, 10-9. Arkansas retook the lead, 11-10, and led by as many as five, 19-14. LSU fought back to tie it up at 24 all and sent it to game point, 29-26, but the Lady Razorbacks scored five straight points to take the game and the match, 31-29.

The Tigers will finally close out their seven-week road trip at Kentucky this Sunday. The match is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. (CT) in Memorial Coliseum and will be broadcast on Cox Sports Television in Baton Rouge on cable channel 37.

Arkansas def. LSU, 26-30, 30-24, 30-27, 31-29

LSU (13-3, 3-2 SEC) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Jelena Mijatovic 22-2-1; Kyna Washington 16-0-4; Marina Skender 9-0-3; Ivana Kuzmic 7-0-9; Melody Clark 7-1-2; Heather Fierce 1-0-0; Lauren Leaumont 0-0-0; Vanessa Freeman 5-0-3; Kassi Mikulik 0-2-0; Daniela Romero 1-0-0; Totals 69-5-11.0. (Assists) - Heather Fierce 27, Daniela Romero 25. (Dig leaders) - Heather Fierce 15.

Arkansas (11-5, 4-1 SEC) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Denitza Koleva 13-0-1; Amy Allison 12-0-13; Karla Crose 11-1-6; Nicole Martin 0-1-0; Christina Lawrence 0-0-1; Caira Daugherty 0-0-0; Iva Docekalova 0-0-1; Jessica Dorrell 5-0-6; Kellie Cole 0-0-0; Ashley Miller 0-1-0; Kele Brewer 15-0-5; Kristin Seaton 2-0-5; Totals 58-3-20.0. (Assists) - Nicole Martin 26, Iva Docekalova 21. (Dig leaders) - Ashley Miller 24.

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