FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Strong defense at the net and in the back row led Alabama to a 3-1 win over Arkansas Sunday afternoon in Barnhill Arena, posting set scores of 25-22, 18-25, 26-24 and 25-19.
Alabama (17-6, 4-5 SEC) posted a season-high 15.0 blocks at the net against Arkansas (9-9, 3-5 SEC), led by junior Hayley McSparin's seven. Senior Cidavia Hall and junior Ginger Perinar were close behind with five each, a career-high for Perinar. Senior Quincey Gary, back at the libero position, totaled a season-high 30 digs to put her 61 away from third place on the Crimson Tide career digs list. On the offensive end, the Crimson Tide had three with double-digit kills, led by sophomore Doris Carter at 15, who added 10 digs for her sixth double-double of the season.
Three-straight points gave the Tide an early 4-1 advantage in the first set and, after four tie scores, the Razorbacks took their first lead of the set at 11-10. With Arkansas ahead 13-12, Alabama scored four-straight points to pull ahead 16-13 before the home team called its first timeout. A kill from Carter after the break made it a four-point game and the Tide continued to build its lead, stretching to as much as six points at 23-17. The Razorbacks started to close the gap with a 4-0 run, forcing Alabama to call a timeout leading 23-21. The Tide eventually held on to win the set, 25-22.
With Alabama ahead 4-2 in set two, Arkansas quickly retook the lead with a 6-1 run, including four-straight points, at 8-5. The Tide took its first timeout facing a four-point deficit, 14-10, and rallied with a 4-1 run to make it a one-point game. Arkansas scored four in a row to lead 19-14 before Alabama called its second timeout. The Razorbacks continued to increase its lead down the stretch, eventually winning 25-18 to even the match at 1-1.
Tied at 1-1, Alabama added some cushion early in the third with a 6-2 run. Later leading by the same margin, 10-6, a block from Hall and Perinar made it a five-point game and Arkansas took its first team timeout. Later with the Tide up by six, the Razorbacks scored three-straight to cut the deficit in half and Alabama called a timeout with the score now at 16-13. Alabama scored three unanswered after the break to increase its lead to 19-13 but Arkansas rallied again to draw within one before the Tide took a timeout at 21-20. Another block from Hall and Perinar made it 23-22 Alabama at the Razorbacks' second timeout before Arkansas scored back-to-back to reach set point, 24-23. A kill from Perinar tied it at 24-24 and a kill from Carter and solo block from junior Mahalia Swink gave the Tide the narrow 26-24 victory and a 2-1 match lead.
Tied at 6-6 in set four, a 6-2 run put Alabama ahead 12-8 at the halfway mark as Arkansas called its first team timeout. The teams traded back-and-forth, with the Tide holding on to its four-point lead. With the score 17-13, the Tide followed a Razorback point with three of its own, moving ahead 20-14 before Arkansas called a timeout. Alabama called its own timeout after a 5-2 Razorback run trimmed the Tide's lead to 22-19. Alabama closed out the frame with three-straight points, capped by a service ace from Gary to win the set, 25-19, and the match, 3-1.
Next up, Alabama has a split weekend starting Friday, Oct. 26 with a road match at Texas A&M at 6:30 p.m. CT before returning home to host Ole Miss Sunday, Oct. 28 at 5 p.m. CT on ESPNU.