The University of Arkansas volleyball team dropped a five-setdecision (29-27, 22-25, 25-19, 17-25, 10-15) to Kansas Thursday night atBarnhill Arena. Junior Meredith Hays paced the team with 22 kills and 15 digs,her first double-double performance in a Cardinal and White jersey. Senior liberoEmily Helm matched her career high with 27 digs while sophomore Summer Morganand redshirt freshman Ana Sofia Jusino each registered six total blocks.
Before the match, senior Raymariely Santos received a game ballfrom head coach Robert Pulliza in recognition of her 3,000-assist milestonereached during Tuesday night's match at Oklahoma. She is just the third setterin program history to reach that mark. Santos finished the match against Kansaswith 27 assists, eight digs, seven kills and three total blocks.
"I think we came out with a lot of energy," Helm said. "We had themomentum after the first set but we just weren't consistent enough to close outthe match and we couldn't come out with a ‘W.'"
In the fifth set, Kansas held an 8-5 lead when the teams switchedsides but the Razorbacks won the next four points to take a 9-8 advantage on anattack error by the Jayhawks. However, the visitors won seven of the finaleight points to pull away for the five-set victory. Thursday's match wasArkansas' second five setter of the season, previously knocking off New Mexicolast Friday during the Arkansas Invitational.
In the first set, Arkansas (3-2) trailed by as much as six beforesurging with a six-point run to take an 18-17 lead on a kill by Santos. The remainderof the set featured eight ties and six set points, four for the Razorbacks. Onboth of Kansas' set points, Hays responded with a kill to extend play. On theteam's fourth chance to close out the opener, Santos sent a shot down the linefor the set-winning kill.
The Razorbacks carried the momentum into the second set, buildingan early eight-point lead on a service ace by Morgan to force a Kansas timeout.However, the visitors began to chip away and took the lead at 16-15 on anArkansas attack error. The Jayhawks used a four-point run late in the set totake control and went on to even the match with a 25-22 win in game two.
After intermission, the two teams split games three and four.Arkansas turned in a .462 hitting percentage during the third set with Haysshouldering the load with six kills including the game winner. The Jayhawksbuilt an early lead in the fourth and maintained their advantage to come awaywith the set win to force a decisive fifth game.
To complete the home-and-home series, the Razorbacks will travelto Lawrence, Kan., to face Kansas on Saturday afternoon at the Horejsi FamilyAthletics Center. First serve of the regional matchup is scheduled for 1 p.m.(CT) and will also be available on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN app.
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