Crimson Tide Volleyball Drops Close Decision at Arkansas


Friday, November 01, 2002

Kory Tull
Kory Tull

» Box Score

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – It was the kind of match that would be expected when the top two teams in the Southeastern Conference Western Division square off, and Alabama (16-10, 6-5 SEC) and Arkansas (18-5, 9-2 SEC) did not disappoint with the Lady ‘Backs earning a hard-fought 3-1 (30-24, 30-28, 26-30, 31-29) win over the Crimson Tide on Friday night.

Kory Tull led a trio of Tide players in double figures finishing with 16 kills. Erin Heffner chipped in 14 kills followed by 12 by Jennifer Bibber. Setter Kenna Milner handed out 47 assists and paced the Tide defense with 14 digs.

“I thought we played a great match,” said UA head coach Judy Green. “We executed the things we worked on for this match extremely well. I am very proud of the effort we played with tonight and really was pleased with our effort. We are truly getting better as a volleyball team. I can’t say enough about the play of Kory (Tull) tonight.”

Arkansas took the early match lead earning a 30-24 win in game one. The Tide struggled offensively hitting just .143 for the game including 10 hitting errors while the Lady ‘Backs clicked at a .316 pace. Arkansas opened up a five-point margin (11-6) early in the first frame and held that advantage for much of the game. The gap widened to eight points 27-19 following a four-point Arkansas spurt. The Lady Razorbacks looked ready to close out the game leading 29-21 but the gritty Tide forced Arkansas to play several more points before finally falling.

Game two started oddly the same as the first stanza with Arkansas again earning the early lead. This time the Lady Razorbacks capitalized on their height advantage scoring several points with strong net play by its blockers. Arkansas took their largest lead of the game, 21-17, on a pair of strong kills. Bama responded with a 9-2 run and appeared to have gained the momentum with strong defensive play and were in position to even the match leading 26-23. The Lady ‘Backs had different plans though scoring the next five points to recapture the lead, 28-26, and then hung on for the 30-28 victory. Arkansas recorded seven team blocks in the frame and again posted a strong .355 hitting performance while limiting UA to just a .176 showing.

Following the break, a focused and determined Crimson Tide squad turned the tables on Arkansas opening up a 5-2 lead behind some strong blocking. The Lady Razorbacks closed the margin and then the two teams settled into an old-fashioned side-out battle content on trading points. The Tide used a four-point push to take a 16-12 advantage, eventually extending the lead to six points at 25-19. Arkansas regrouped and trimmed the Bama lead to just one (26-25) with a 6-1 run but the Tide settled down and closed out the game for the 30-26 win. For the Tide it was more of their third game magic improving to 19-7 this season in game three play. Bama’s defense forced the Arkansas offense into a dismal .093 hitting percentage.

The fourth frame began as a back-and-forth affair with the teams trading points to a 10-10 tie. From there Arkansas scored the next five points and managed to keep that margin as the game settled back into a point-trading contest. The Tide was able to trim the deficit to 22-20 with a string of three straight points and then closed the gap even more with another trio of points to make the score, 25-24. Following three points by Arkansas, Bama again made a surge winning the next four points to tie the score at 28. After swapping points, the Lady ‘Backs were finally able to muster back-to-back points for the game and match win.

Arkansas was led by Anna Velikanova with 17 kills and 17 digs. Libby Windell tallied nine block assists in leading the Lady Razorbacks to a 15-7 edge in blocking for the match.

The Crimson Tide concludes its final SEC road swing of the season with a visit to LSU on Sunday afternoon in Baton Rouge, La.

Alabama (16-10, 6-5 SEC)     24   28   30   29
Arkansas (18-5, 9-2 SEC)     30   30   26   31