Razorbacks register Senior Day sweep over Alabama
Arkansas volleyball sent off its seniors right on Sunday with its second consecutive sweep over the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Hogs defeated the visiting Tide 25-18, 25-16 and 29-27 and moved to 18-8 overall and 9-7 in the SEC. Alabama is 9-19 and 3-13 in conference play.
Senior Jill Gillen led the offense with 15 kills. Graduate middle blocker Tatum Shipes had 13 total blocks for the Arkansas defense on Senior Day, with one solo and 12 block assists. The Hogs had a total 16.5 blocks as a team. Fifth year setter Gracie Ryan led in assists on the day with 20 and had seven digs.
The first set was close to start with five ties early, but Arkansas began to pull away with a three-point run and went up 9-6. The Hogs held the lead from there and extended it to five with a kill from Taylor Head. The Tide came within two shortly after, but the Razorbacks scored five straight, which included three blocks from Shipes, for a 23-15 advantage. Alabama narrowed the gap to five, but a kill from Gillen and a block from Shipes and Head closed the first 25-16 in favor of the Hogs.
Alabama used a 3-0 run early in the second and went up 8-7. The Tide stayed vigilant and held the edge for a bit, but the Hogs strung together five straight points for a 15-11 lead. Alabama came within three points three different times, but a kill from Maggie Cartwright and an ace from Courtney Jackson made it 20-15 Arkansas. The Tide called time to regroup, but the Razorbacks scored the next three. Alabama broke it up with a point, but Arkansas responded with back-to-back kills from Cartwright and Gillen shut the door on the second and put the Hogs up 2-0 in the match.
The Tide swung the momentum in the third set and jumped out to an 11-5 lead early. Arkansas took a timeout and rolled from there with eight straight points, which included two blocks and two kills from Gillen, and went up 13-11. Alabama tacked on another point, but the Hogs added four kills from four different players extended the lead to 17-12. The Tide called time and settled in from there with an impressive 7-2 run and tied the score at 19-19. The Hogs added an ace from Hannah Hogue and a solo block from Head and regained the lead, but it didn't last long. Tied at 23-23, the Hogs took a timeout, and later forced set and match point at 25-24. Alabama stayed on the home team's heels and got its own opportunity at 27-26, but Arkansas put together three straight points, capped off by a solo block from Shipes for the match sweep.
The Hogs close out the regular season with a road trip to play the Auburn Tigers Friday, Nov. 25 at 2 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. Both matches will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus.