Despite the visitors forcing a fifth and deciding set with victories in the third and fourth, the Razorbacks battled back in Wednesday's midweek match against Texas A&M with a 3-2 match victory, the team's second of the season.
The Hogs are now 14-5 overall and 5-4 in SEC play. The Aggies move to 10-9 and 2-6 in the league.
Junior Taylor Head led the offense with 23 kills, which matches her career high set earlier this season, and added 15 digs for a double-double. Senior Maggie Cartwright had a career high 21 kills and hit .312, and freshman Avery Calame made her Arkansas debut on the night and posted 11 kills on 29 attempts with just three errors, and 12 digs for a double-double.
Graduate setter Gracie Ryan had a season high 29 assists in the match, while her sophomore counterpart Hannah Hogue had 28 assists and 15 digs for a double-double, her eighth of the season.
The first set went back-and-forth to begin with, and the score was tied seven times early. Arkansas then went on a three-point run and pushed the score to 14-11, which sent A&M to a timeout. The Hogs never relinquished the lead after that. The Aggies attempted to regroup with a final timeout down 20-16, but Arkansas scored five of the next seven, and kills from Calame and Head closed the first 25-18 in favor of Arkansas.
The Hogs came out fast and furious in the second set and quickly grabbed a 6-1 lead, which sent the Aggies to huddle. A&M couldn't mount a comeback and Arkansas grew the lead to as many as eight points, and while the Aggies made a three-point run, Cartwright answered with two kills for the 17-10 advantage, which forced another A&M timeout. The Aggies added just two more points after that, and three straight Arkansas points, capped off by a Calame ace, ended the second 25-12 and put Arkansas ahead 2-0 in the match.
The Hogs found themselves chasing the Aggies early in the third, and while two kills each from Head and Cartwright made it 10-8 Arkansas, the lead didn't last long. A 9-2 run shortly after powered the Aggies to a 17-12 margin. The Hogs cut the deficit to two at 19-17 but couldn't get a big run going. A&M closed out the set with three straight for a 25-20 victory, and made the match 2-1.
The Hogs scored the first three points of the set, but A&M answered with four of its own, and the score was tied 5-5. The Aggies quickly got the lead thereafter, and while the Hogs came close, A&M continued to keep the pressure on and didn't let the home team get within less than two. The Aggies then took a timeout, and the Hogs got three of the next five, which made it 24-23. A&M called time, and Arkansas couldn't respond. The Aggies closed it out with a kill for a 25-23 set victory and knotted the match 2-2.
Arkansas answered A&M's first two points of the fifth with three, which featured kills from Dirrigl and Head for a 3-2 lead. The score was then tied at 4-4, but Arkansas strung together a trio of points for a 7-4 advantage, and A&M called time. Cartwright and Calame added kills for a 9-5 lead, but a 4-1 run cut the Razorback lead to just one at 10-9. Arkansas took a timeout, but A&M stayed on the Hogs' heels. Head and Cartwright then tallied kills to push it to 14-11, and an A&M timeout didn't swing the momentum for the Aggies. Head put up a solo block to end it 15-11 and for the 3-2 match win.
Arkansas now has nine days off before returning to SEC play against No. 11 Florida in Gainesville on Oct. 29 and Oct. 30.