Fayetteville, Ark. -- Arkansas volleyball returned home after two weeks away and swept up a victory in match one against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Hogs defeated the Tide 25-10, 25-19 and 25-21 for the match win. Arkansas is now 17-8 on the season and 8-7 in the SEC. Alabama moves to 9-18, 3-12 in the league.
Senior outside hitter Jill Gillen led the Hogs with 13 kills, while junior Taylor Head posted 11 kills and 10 digs for her 14th double-double of the season. Graduate middle Tatum Shipes paced the defense with five blocks, including one solo. Senior Maggie Cartwright also had a solo block and three block assists for four total.
The Razorbacks and Crimson Tide meet again on Sunday for the series finale at Barnhill Arena. First serve is set for 3 p.m. and the match will be streamed live on SEC Network Plus. The team will conduct Senior Day festivities post-match, honoring Hailey Dirrigl, Gracie Ryan, and Tatum Shipes.
Arkansas was unstoppable early in the first set, with Alabama's only point coming off a Hog service error as the Hogs took a quick 7-1 lead. The Tide called time and found a bit of a rhythm and cut the deficit to four, but the Razorbacks answered with four points, including an ace from Gracie Ryan, and Alabama huddled again down 15-6. The Hogs got five straight after that and went over 20 points, and they limited the Tide to two at a time. A kill from Head brought Arkansas to set point, and the Tide added a kill to hit double digits, but Head responded right back with another for the set victory. Arkansas hit .423 in the opening frame, the team's second set over .400 in the month of November.
The second set was a bit closer to start and saw two ties, but the Hogs settled in quickly and used a three-point run for an 8-4 advantage. The Tide battled closely but couldn't get more than a pair of points going at time, which kept Arkansas' lead secure. A Gillen kill and solo block from Shipes pushed the margin to six points at 15-9. Alabama found its footing shortly after that and a 5-2 streak by the Tide made it 18-15 Arkansas, but the Hogs came back with three points, capped off by a Head ace, for a 21-15 lead. The Tide huddled and again pushed the deficit to just three, but a Gillen kill and two Tide errors shut the door on the second 25-19 in favor of the Razorbacks.
Arkansas capitalized on Alabama errors in the third set and a 5-0 run made it 6-2 Hogs. The Tide didn't let up, though, and answered with four points of their own for a 6-6 tie. The Razorbacks briefly took the lead but the Tide wouldn't go down quietly this time, and Alabama tied it again at 14- and 15-all. Arkansas swung the momentum with four points, capped off by a solo block from Cartwright, and Alabama regrouped with a timeout. The Tide stayed vigilant and came within two, but a swing from Gillen and an Alabama error put the Hogs two points away at 23-19. Alabama spoiled set and match point twice after a timeout, but Gillen's lucky 13th kill of the day made it 25-21 Razorbacks and secured the sweep.
The Razorbacks face the Tide again on Sunday at 4:00 P.M. ET in a televised match on SEC Network+.