Razorbacks claim second top 10 win of the season over jackets
The Arkansas volleyball program hosted its first ranked vs. ranked match in 23 years on Thursday, and the No. 24 Hogs did not disappoint with their second top 10 win of the season over the No. 7 Georgia Tech Yellowjackets, 3-1 .
It’s the first time in the program’s history that Arkansas have recorded two top-10 wins in a single season, following the team’s 3-1 win over then-No. 8 Washington on Aug. 26. Thursday’s win surpassed the mark set at the start of the season and is the highest-ranking win for the Hogs since 2007.
Senior outside hitter Jill Gillen led the Razorbacks with 18 kills and 12 digs for their first double-double of the season. Graduate student Hailey Dirrigl had a team best kill rate of .423 with 12 kills, which is a high of the season for her.
Setters Gracie Ryan and Hannah Hogue each had 22 assists, and second sweeper Courtney Jackson had a team-high 18 digs. Arkansas had four team blocks, and Taylor Head and Tatum Shipes each had three block assists.
The first set was imminent, but the Hogs started to pull away with a five-point lead after a kill from Dirrigl, later extending it to six with a three-point run that included an ace from Head that den sent Yellowjackets down 13-7 for the timeout. Georgia Tech failed to generate a strong offensive boost while the Razorbacks chained three points in a row with another pair of Dirrigl kills for a 10-point lead at 20-10. The Yellowjackets huddled together again, reducing the deficit to seven, but the Hogs added kills from Head and junior Maggie Cartwright to tie the opener 25-16. Arkansas held Georgia Tech under .100 batting in the first set at .061 while the Hogs hit .267.
The score was leveled four times early in the second set until Georgia Tech capitalized on a 6-1 run to take a 12-7 lead. Arkansas called time to regroup, and the Hogs cut the lead to five just after a three-point run with two kills from Gillen and one from Cartwright. The Yellowjackets went to a timeout, and while they were first 20, the Razorbacks began to press. Kills from Head and Shipes brought them to within one, but the Jackets regained the three-point lead. Arkansas called the time, but the Hogs ran out and a serve error gave the visitors the second set 25-23.
With a 1-1 draw in the match, Arkansas turned the momentum early in the third set with a quick 4-1 lead after a kill from Head. Georgia Tech didn’t let up, leveling the score to the 10th point six times, but then the Jackets really took control and went with a 5-2 run for a 15-12 lead at the media timeout. The Hogs stayed on their heels and fired back to close the gap to a point at 18-17, sending Georgia Tech into a timeout. The Razorbacks locked in and got four straight kills, two from Head and one each from Dirrigl and Gillen, and the Hogs took a 21-19 lead. Georgia Tech called the time again and got within two but couldn’t catch up. Cartwright again took the set point at 25-22 and gave the Razorbacks a 2-1 lead.
Arkansas fired on all cylinders early in the fourth set after a 3-3 draw, using five straight points that included an ace from Jackson and two kills from Gillen for an 8-3 advantage. Georgia Tech couldn’t do much after a timeout, and the Razorbacks extended the lead to 13-7 after losing an ace from Shipes. The Jackets closed by no less than five after that, and kills from Cartwright and Archibong sent Georgia Tech into a huddle down 18-11. Back-to-back A Yellowjacket attacking errors put Arkansas over the 20-point threshold 20-11, and while Georgia Tech threatened within five, a Dirrigl kill put the Hogs just two points away. The Jackets spoiled once with their 20th set and match point, but Gillen made her 18th kill of the night to cap the 25-20 set win and 3-1 match win.
Arkansas concludes the Arkansas Challenge against NC State at Barnhill Arena on Friday, September 16 at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed live on SEC Network plus and tickets are available online or in person.
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