Arkansas storms back to beat Auburn 3-2
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Facing a two-set deficit against Auburn, the University of Arkansas volleyball team rallied for a five-set victory Friday night at Barnhill Arena. Junior Pilar Victoria registered a match-high 32 kills to pace the Razorbacks while freshman Okiana Valle led all players with 23 digs. With Friday's win, Arkansas snapped a five-matching losing streak and improved to 14-7 overall with a 4-5 mark in SEC play.
In the decisive fifth set, the Razorbacks turned a one-point lead into an 8-4 advantage after consecutive attack errors by Auburn (12-9, 4-5 SEC). The visitors cut Arkansas' lead to two at 10-8 after a pair of blocks but got no closer. An Auburn serve landed long to give the Razorbacks match point at 14-11, and on the next play, Victoria flew in out of the back row to seal the five-set victory. Arkansas is now 5-1 in five setters this season.
Arkansas 3, Auburn 2 (16-25, 17-25, 25-21, 25-19, 15-11)
Attendance: 1,151 | Time: 2:27
Barnhill Arena | Fayetteville, Ark.
Leaders vs. Auburn
o Kills: Pilar Victoria - 32 (third 30-kill performance of the season)
o Digs: Okiana Valle - 23 (fourth 20-dig performance of the season)
o Blocks: Ana Sofia Jusino - 5.0 (1-4)
Victoria's performance marked her third match of the season with 30 or more kills, all of which have come during SEC play. The Caguas, Puerto Rico native is now responsible for three of the five 30-kill efforts in the conference this year. She added 10 digs to complete her team-leading 11th double-double of the season. Breana Jones, the SEC leader in hitting percentage, added nine kills at a .474 clip.
Valle posted her fourth 20-dig performance of the season, three of the four coming against SEC opposition. Senior Monica Bollinger was the third Razorback in double figures with 13 digs, good for her fifth match of the year with 10 or more digs. With the effort, she ties former teammate Raymariely Santos (2010-13) for 12th on the program's all-time list with 933 career digs. At the net, junior Ana Sofia Jusino had a team-high five total blocks while Jones and junior Danielle Harbin each added four blocks.
Down two sets and trailing the visiting Tigers by three late in the third, Arkansas used a 7-1 run to surge ahead and took a 22-19 lead on an Auburn attack error. On the team's second opportunity, the Razorbacks got on the match scoreboard with a kill by Victoria. Arkansas won the first three points of the fourth and never trailed in the set. Jones had five of her nine kills in the frame. Back-to-back kills from Victoria and Barbara Dapic closed out the fourth to force the team's sixth five setter of the year.
Friday's match also featured a trio of milestone efforts for the Razorbacks. With her first kill of the night, Dapic recorded her 300th career kill while Harbin reached the 200 career mark with her second kill against Auburn. In off the bench in the second set, redshirt sophomore Blakelee Dunagin put down her first career kill.
Arkansas closes out its home weekend with a Sunday afternoon matchup against Alabama. First serve is scheduled for 2 p.m. (CT) with the first 50 students receiving a free Razorback team knit hat. Sunday's match will be televised on the SEC Network with Melissa Lee and Laura Bush handling play-by-play and color commentary duties, respectively. Among other promotions, Arkansas will host a post-match clinic for children in eighth grade and younger.