FAYETTEVILLE - Fifth-year head volleyball coach Jason Watson and the Arkansas volleyball team defeated No. 14 Texas A&M, 3-1 (15-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-21) in Barnhill Arena on Friday night for the Hogs first win over the Aggies since 2017 and the Razorbacks' first win over a ranked opponent since 2015.
- Devyn Wheeler | 15 kills, .480 hitting %
- Hailey Dirrigl | 10 kills, three service aces
- Lauren Evans | 17 digs, three service aces
- Season-best allowed opponent hitting % (.175)
How it Happened
The Razorbacks made all the right adjustments after dropping the first set to the Aggies, 25-15 to fall behind one set to none in the series opener of their final weekend in Barnhill. No.14 Texas A&M had its most efficient offensive showing in the first set with a .370 hitting percentage while holding Arkansas to a .059 hitting percentage.
It was all Arkansas in the following three sets, as redshirt junior Hailey Dirrigl posted five kills on six attempts in the second set to help the Hogs secure the second-set win and tie the match with one set each. Dirrigl also had back-to-back service aces to put the Razorbacks up, 17-13 mid-way through the set and keeping control of the match in the Hogs' hands.
The third set saw six tie scores and two lead changes, but the most important lead change came from Liz Pamphile, who delivered a crucial kill that gave Arkansas an 18-17 lead late in the set that would hold until the Hogs claimed the set, 25-20 to set a 2-1 match lead. Pamphile also delivered a key attack late in the match to put the Razorbacks up 24-18, putting them in prime position to take the third set.
Arkansas had its best performance of the night in the fourth set, posting 15 kills and only two errors (.419 hitting %). Wheeler came up clutch for the Razorbacks five times on six attempts while committing no attack errors, securing two of Arkansas' final five points en route to the Hogs' huge win. Wheeler finished the night with a season-best 15 kills, matching her career-high.
Hear from the Hogs
"Our goal is be good over long periods of time," Coach Watson commented. "Texas A&M made that really hard for us this evening. While not as clean of a performance as we had prepared, we found some grit and persevered. We'll have some time to prepare for the re-match. It's sure to be another battle tomorrow"
"Beating Texas A&M who was ranked number 14 in the nation is by far one of the greatest achievements I think our team has made in a while," said Wheeler. "I'm so grateful to be a part of this energy-filled team, and we're still hungry for more!"
"I'm really proud of this team" said Dirrigl. "We go to battle every single day and tonight we tasted victory over a good team. I couldn't ask for a better group of girls to fight with - on and off the court. Tonight, we will enjoy this win, but come tomorrow we will be dialed in, and ready to fight again."