FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- In front of the third-largest home crowd in program history, the University of Arkansas volleyball team posted a straight-set win (25-22, 25-19, 25-19) over Tennessee State in Friday's season opener. The Razorbacks were cheered to victory by 1,463 fans at Barnhill Arena and are now 14-7 all-time in season openers. The win also pushes Arkansas (1-0) to 17-4 all-time in home openers.
"I felt like our players came prepared," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "The Razorback Nation, our fans were unreal in our season opener. Thank you to them for making it a special home opener. We're going to need them again tomorrow at 11 and 7. I feel really good about the things we're doing. A little high on the errors but that's to be expected in a home opener with that kind of environment."
In support of a balanced offensive attack-seven different players with at least three kills-the Razorbacks' defense had 10.0 total blocks in the three-set win. Meredith Hays led the team with nine kills and was one kill shy of a double-double, finishing the night with 11 digs. Ana Sofia Jusino tallied a match-high five total blocks while libero Monica Bollinger led all players with 13 digs.
Friday's attendance marked the largest season-opening crowd in program history, surpassing the previous figure of 1,407 established in the 2011 season opener against Colorado State. The top-three home crowds in Barnhill Arena history have now come over the past three seasons.
Chanell Clark-Bibbs and Barbara Dapic each had six kills against Tennessee State (0-1). With the first two sets of her collegiate career under her belt, freshman Bailee Hankenson set the Razorbacks to a .357 hitting percentage in the third set to close out the Tigers.
Arkansas returns to action Saturday with matches at 11 a.m. against Stephen F. Austin and 7 p.m. against Michigan. This weekend's matches will be streamed live on SEC Network+, the network's digital platform. Web broadcasts are available online at SECNetwork.com, ESPN3.com or through the WatchESPN app. To watch SEC Network+ broadcasts, users must have a cable provider that carries the SEC Network.