Saturday, November 22, 2003
» Box Score
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of Alabama volleyball team’s run of strong play came to an end on Saturday night as a focused Arkansas squad handed the Tide a 3-0 (30-16, 30-21, 30-24) loss in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
With the defeat, the Crimson Tide finishes the season with an 18-13 overall record, marking the fifth consecutive season that Bama has posted a winning record. It was also the second straight year that Arkansas ended the Tide’s SEC Tournament run in the semifinals.
Junior Erin Heffner was the Tide’s top offensive performer finishing with 12 kills. Senior Jennifer Bibber chipped in 11 kills while junior Julie Farley paced the UA defense with three blocks. For the match, Alabama hit at a .125 pace while Arkansas’ offense posted a .302 hitting percentage. The Lady Razorbacks also turned the tables on the Tide from the service line, tallying 12 aces in the contest.
“First of all I want to give credit to Arkansas because they played terrific all three games,” said UA head coach Judy Green. “Their serving kept us out of rhythm and out of system for much of the day, and that makes it difficult to score. Our passers weren't able to receive serve with any consistency. Both matches we played against Arkansas were decided from the service line. This is the first time in the past 13-14 matches that we haven't hit over .200 offensively. It is difficult to win when you're not able to side out."
Arkansas jumped out to the early lead in game one. A six-point run midway through the frame pushed Arkansas’ lead from 16-9 to 22-9 and they never looked back en route to the 30-16 victory. The Lady Razorback offense clicked at a .423 rate while limiting the Tide to only a .133 percentage.
The Tide’s struggles continued at the start of game two as Arkansas again opened up an early advantage. UA fell behind by double digits but continued to battle even fighting off four game points before finally dropping a 30-21 decision.
Determined not to let the match slip away, Alabama fought back in game three as it built a healthy lead to start the frame. However, the Crimson Tide stalled at 18 points as Arkansas drilled 11 unanswered points to claim a 25-18 advantage. An offensive battle ensued, but the Tide could come up with only six more points before Arkansas closed out the match by the count of 30-24.
Arkansas, the No. 2 seed, improves to 24-5 with the win and advances to face top-seeded Florida in the SEC Championship match at 1 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.
Alabama (18-13) 16-21-24
Arkansas (24-5) 30-30-30