Arkansas Responds to Aggie Rally, Takes Victory in Five Sets
Although the visitors forced a decisive fifth set with wins in the third and fourth, the Razorbacks fought back in Wednesday’s midweek game against Texas A&M with a 3-2 victory, the second of the season for the crew.
The Hogs are now 14-5 overall and 5-4 in SEC play. The Aggies go 10-9 and 2-6 in the league.
Junior Taylor Head led the offense with 23 kills, matching his career high set earlier this season, and added 15 digs for a double-double. Senior Maggie Cartwright had a career-high 21 eliminations and hit .312, and rookie Avery Calame made his Arkansas debut on the night and recorded 11 eliminations in 29 attempts with just three errors and 12 recoveries for a double- double.
Graduate setter Gracie Ryan had 29 assists in the game, while her sophomore counterpart Hannah Hogue had 28 assists and 15 digs for a double-double, her eighth of the season.
The first set went back and forth to start, and the score was tied seven times early. Arkansas then chained the three-pointers and pushed the score to 14-11, which sent A&M into a timeout. The Hogs never gave up the lead after that. The Aggies tried to regroup with a final timeout 20-16, but Arkansas scored five of the next seven, and kills from Calame and Head closed the first 25-18 in favor of Arkansas.
The Hogs came out fast and furious in the second set and quickly took a 6-1 lead, which caused the Aggies to hunker down. A&M couldn’t mount a comeback and Arkansas increased the lead to eight points, and while the Aggies made a three-point run, Cartwright responded with two kills for the 17-point advantage. 10, which forced another A&M timeout. The Aggies only added two more points after that, and three straight Arkansas points, capped by an ace from Calame, finished second 25-12 and put Arkansas ahead 2-0 in the game. .
The Hogs found themselves chasing the Aggies early in the third, and although two kills each from Head and Cartwright made it 10-8 Arkansas, the lead didn’t last long. A 9-2 run soon after propelled the Aggies to a 17-12 margin. The Hogs cut the deficit to two at 19-17, but failed to start a big run. A&M closed the set with three straight matches for a 25-20 win and made the game 2-1.
The Hogs scored the first three points of the set, but A&M answered with four of their own, and the score was tied at 5-5. The Aggies took an early lead afterward, and while the Hogs closed in, A&M continued to keep the pressure on and didn’t let the home team come within two. The Aggies then took a timeout and the Hogs got three of the next five to make it 24-23. A&M called the time and Arkansas couldn’t answer. The Aggies closed it with a kill for a 25-23 set win and tied the game 2-2.
Arkansas responded to A&M’s first two points of the fifth with three, which featured kills from Dirrigl and Head for a 3-2 lead. The score was then tied at 4-4, but Arkansas chained a trio of runs for a 7-4 advantage, and A&M called time. Cartwright and Calame added kills for a 9-5 lead, but a 4-1 run cut Razorback’s lead to just one at 10-9. Arkansas took a timeout, but A&M stayed on the Hogs’ heels. Head and Cartwright then tallied the takedowns to push it to 14-11, and an A&M timeout didn’t give the Aggies momentum. Head set up a solo block to end it 15-11 and for the match victory 3-2.
Arkansas now has nine days off before returning to play SEC against No. 11 Florida in Gainesville on Oct. 29-30.
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