(University of Arkansas Volleyball)
BATON ROUGE, La. (Univ. of Ark.) - The University of Arkansas volleyball team lost in five sets (20-25, 25-14, 27-25, 20-25, 12-15) to LSU Sunday afternoon at the Maravich Center in Baton Rouge. The Razorbacks got double-doubles from junior Meredith Hays and senior Ashley Vazquez while senior libero Emily Helm tallied a match-high 28 digs. With Sunday's result, Arkansas drops to 13-9 overall and 6-5 in Southeastern Conference play.
Hays registered her second double-double performance of the weekend and eighth of the year. She finished the match with a match-high 22 kills and 11 digs. With 23 assists and a career-high 14 digs, Vazquez notched the first double-double of her Razorback career. Helm's effort is her ninth 20-dig effort of the season, and sixth during conference play. Sophomore Liz Fortado matched her season high with 11 kills Sunday against the Tigers.
In the fifth and decisive set, the Razorbacks won three of the first four points but LSU (14-6, 4-4 SEC) rallied to take a 7-4 lead after back-to-back blocks. The switch in momentum continued with a surge by Arkansas to pull even at 7-all on the scoreboard. The Tigers responded to win five of the next six points to take the lead for good at 12-8. Arkansas pulled to within two points on three occasions down the stretch before LSU closed out the match, 15-12.
Arkansas trailed by as many as nine points in the first set but got as close as three late in the set, cutting the LSU advantage to 22-19 after a tandem block from Fortado and freshman Ana Sofia Jusino. The Tigers steadied and won the final three points to win the opener, 25-20. Hays had seven kills in the first set while Jusino had five total blocks; she finished the match with a match-high nine total blocks.
The Razorbacks reversed their start in the second, jumping out to an 8-3 lead to force an early LSU timeout. The visitors used a four-point surge later in the set to take a 15-8 advantage after a service ace from freshman Megan Mollett. Arkansas benefitted from four winners at the service line including back-to-back aces from Helm to close out the set, 25-14.
In a set that featured 10 ties and six lead changes, Arkansas won the third set by a score of 27-25 to take a 2-1 match lead. Senior Raymariely Santos tooled the LSU block on the Razorbacks' fourth set point to clinch the game. Arkansas trailed by as much as four and led by as three points in the back-and-forth set. LSU responded to win the fourth set to push the match to a deciding game.
The Razorbacks now return to Fayetteville in preparation for next weekend's home stand against No. 15 Kentucky and Ole Miss. Friday's match against the Wildcats is scheduled for a 7 p.m. (CT) start at Barnhill Arena and will be followed by the pep rally for the Arkansas-Auburn football game.