Hogs continue sweep streak with victories over Trojans and Panther

The Razorbacks returned to Barnhill Arena for two games on Friday and went 2-0 without a set in their fifth straight game, with victories over Little Rock and Florida International.

It’s the first time Arkansas has scored five straight match sweeps since the 2001 season, and the Hogs are currently 6-1 this season.

Junior Taylor Head led the day for the Razorbacks, having 25 kills in the two matches with 11 digs in the first match for a double-double. Her batting average of .545 in the first match was a team high. Sophomore setter Hannah Hogue led both matches with 48 assists, and graduate Gracie Ryan had 26 assists and a double-double in the second match with 12 digs.

In the Hogs’ game against Little Rock, they held the Trojans to a batting average of .029, a new best for the team this season. The Razorbacks also had eight aces against the Trojans from four different players.

Game one: Little Rock
With the two teams playing just before the start, Arkansas gasped on a four-point run that featured two aces from Jill Gillen to take a 9-5 lead. After a timeout from Little Rock, the Trojans made three more points, but the Hogs fired back with five points, topped by two kills from Maggie Cartwright that extended the lead to 16-8. Little Rock crouched again and regrouped with a 7-3 run, but the Hogs reached 20 first after a kill from Hailey Dirrigl. The Trojans spoiled the set point twice, but the Razorbacks closed with an attacking error from Little Rock, 25-18 in favor of the Hogs.

The Razorbacks rolled early in the second set with a 7-1 series with a pair of aces from Head, forcing a timeout from Little Rock. Arkansas kept the pressure up and extended the advantage to 10 after a Cartwright kill that made it 17-7. The Trojans added just one more point in the set, but the Hogs hit back with eight unanswered points, including two kills from Gillen, for the 25-8 win in set two. Arkansas limited Little Rock to a -.088 hitting clip in the set, the Hogs’ second-lowest percentage all season and the first time they’ve been able to hold an opponent in a set in single digits.

The Trojans first threatened early in the third set and led by two, but a four-point run spurred by a sophomore kill by Jada Lawson gave Arkansas a 6-4 advantage. The Hogs kept the momentum from there, widening the lead to 10-6 after an ace from Tatum Shipes and Little Rock called the time. The Trojans added three points, but the Hogs drew five together, with two kills from Cartwright, one each from Lawson and Head and an ace from Courtney Jackson, going 19-9. Little Rock put on a 4-2 run but couldn’t pull off a big enough comeback, and three straight Arkansas kills sealed the third set 25-14 for an Arkansas match sweep.

Game two: FIU
The Hogs and the Panthers kept it tight early in the second game of the day, but Arkansas went up two at 15-13 after FIU attacking errors at the media timeout. The Hogs widened the gap with two kills from Gillen and Head for a four-point lead, and the Panthers called again. The teams traded points, but Arkansas limited the FIU to just one each while another kill from Head gave the Razorbacks a 22-17 advantage. FIU capitalized on their last timeout, but Arkansas put on a 3-1 run and kills from Gillen and Shipes finished the first 25-18.

In the second set, the Razorbacks started immediately and quickly took a 6-1 lead. The Panthers opened up four points from there, but the Hogs retained a doubled lead at 10-5 after a head kill. FIU then went on a 4-1 run to reduce Arkansas’ advantage, which was met with a Panthers error and a Cartwright kill to regain the four-lead at media break. The FIU reduced the deficit to just one, but three straight Arkansas points took the score to 22-18, and the Panthers called the time. The FIU broke the 20-point threshold and spoiled a set point for the Razorbacks, but an FIU attacking error put it 25-21 in Arkansas hands.

Neither team led by more than two points early in the third set, but Arkansas capitalized on FIU errors to bolster the lead, grabbing three straight points including a kill from Dirrigl and an ace from Ryan to set a 15- 9 advantage to achieve. After the media break, FIU gained ground with five points, but Arkansas added four, including two Panthers errors. FIU hunkered down again at 19-14, and while the Hogs were up to 20 first, the Panthers pressed on and took advantage of a three-point streak to go to three. FIU threatened again after their last timeout, crushing three match points for the Hogs, but a serve error resulted in the 25-22 to complete the Arkansas sweep.

Arkansas meets Colorado in the finals of the Arkansas Invitational on Sunday, September 11 at 1 p.m. at Barnhill Arena. Colorado is also 2-0 in the tournament so far with two sweeps, and the Buffaloes have won 14 straight sets against Arkansas’ 15. The game will be streamed live on SEC Network+ and tickets are available online or in person.

More information
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