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Arkansas handles Tennessee in straight sets

111 days ago
Arkansas Athletics
Photo: Arkansas Athletics

The Razorbacks got back into the win column on Friday in sweeping fashion as the Hogs won 3-0 over the Lady Vols for the first time in five years.

Arkansas hadn't defeated Tennessee since the spring 2021 season and it's just the fourth win in the last 11 outings between the two for the Razorbacks. The Hogs hadn't swept the Vols since 2017. Arkansas is now 12-5 overall and 3-4 in the SEC, and Tennessee moves to 10-9 and 4-3 in conference.

Senior Jill Gillen had 12 kills on the day, which led the Hogs, and junior Taylor Head was just behind with 10 kills and a .364 hitting percentage. Four other Hogs had at least five kills on the day in Hailey Dirrigl, Maggie Cartwright, Tatum Shipes and Abigail Archibong. Arkansas hit .333 overall on the night, its highest percentage since Alabama State on Sept. 2.

Set 1

The Hogs got off to a hot start in the opening set and went on a 6-1 run, which featured two service aces from Head and sophomore Hannah Hogue for a 9-4 advantage, which sent Tennessee to a timeout. The Vols came within one shortly after, but the Hogs held them off and extended the lead with three straight kills by Dirrigl, Gillen and Shipes. The Vols couldn't mount a comeback after that and never cut the deficit by less than two. A pair of kills from Gillen and Cartwright made it 21-16 in favor of the home team, and Tennessee took another timeout. The Hogs answered with two straight kills and while the Vols tacked on two more, a kill from Gillen closed the first 25-18 for Arkansas.

Set 2

The Razorbacks grabbed the first point of the second set, but the Vols quickly answered and shifted the momentum in their favor through the first 10 points. Three kills from Cartwright, Gillen and Archibong made it 11-11, and Tennessee added one, but the Hogs took control after with a three-point run capped off by an ace from sophomore libero Courtney Jackson for a 14-12 advantage. Tennessee called time, and the Vols stayed vigilant and score was tied five times. A Tennessee attack error and kill from Gillen put the Razorbacks back up by two, which held through the end of the set. Dirrigl slammed the door with a kill for the 25-22 set victory and 2-0 lead in the match.

Set 3

The third set was back-and-forth early, but a kill from Cartwright made it 5-4 for Arkansas, a lead that the Hogs held through the midway point. The Vols tied it briefly at 12-12, but three unanswered from the Razorbacks gave them the lead back at 15-12. Tennessee quickly made it 15-15, but another three-point run courtesy of two kills from Shipes and one from Dirrigl made it 18-15 Arkansas. Tennessee took a timeout but couldn't manage more than two points at a time, and a service error sent the Hogs to set and match point. The Vols spoiled it five times, but Gillen came through with her 12th kill of the day for a narrow 25-23 set three victory for the sweep.

Up Next Arkansas and Tennessee meet for the series finale on Saturday, Oct. 15 at Barnhill Arena at 5 p.m. The match will be streamed live on SEC Network Plus.