AUBURN, Ala. -- The Hogs closed out the regular season in commanding fashion as Arkansas earned its fifth consecutive sweep, and second in as many nights over the Auburn Tigers.
The win made the Hogs' final regular season record 20-8 overall, 11-7 in the SEC. It is the first time since the 2002 and 2003 campaigns that Arkansas has posted back-to-back 20-win seasons.
Three Hogs had a dozen kills in the match, including graduate outside hitter Hailey Dirrigl, who had 12 kills and just two errors on 23 attempts for a .435 hitting percentage in her regular season finale at Arkansas. The Razorback defense had 12 team blocks, led by Abigail Archibong and Maggie Cartwright with seven apiece.
There were four tie scores early in the opening set, but the Hogs used a 4-2 run to gain a two-point lead at 8-6. Auburn stayed vigilant and limited the Razorbacks to one at a time from there and forced a lead change at 12-11. The Tigers held on until a kill from Head and back-to-back blocks from Archibong and Maggie Cartwright made it 15-14 for the Hogs at the media break. The Tigers tied it up yet again at 17-17, but the Hogs locked in and rattled off three straight and took a lasting lead. Hailey Dirrigl closed out the set 25-21 and put Arkansas up 1-0.
Arkansas got the first two points of the second set and doubled up on the early edge at 6-3 off a kill from Head. The Razorbacks added two more before the Tigers called time, but the home team couldn't get anything going. Three kills from Gillen and two from Tatum Shipes pushed it to 14-6, and Auburn huddled again. The Tigers chipped away, but a four-point run for the Hogs put a comeback out of reach. A kill from Tatum Shipes made it 25-17 and gave the Razorbacks a 2-0 advantage in the match.
The Hogs answered an early Tiger lead by scoring five of the next six points and went up 6-3 before Auburn called time. The Tigers came within one but quickly unraveled, and four straight points, including three Auburn errors, went to the Hogs, who took a 12-7 lead. Auburn regrouped with a timeout and kept it close, but Arkansas never surrendered the lead. A kill by Cartwright and back-to-back blocks from her and Archibong made it 22-16, and Auburn added just one more before a three-point run, capped off by a Shipes kill, closed it 25-17 for the Hogs.
The Hogs will learn their postseason fate during the NCAA Volleyball Selection Show on Sunday, Nov. 27. The show will air live on ESPNU and begins at 6:30 p.m. CT.