Razorbacks close Arkansas invite with sixth straight sweep
Heading into Sunday’s game against Colorado, the Buffaloes hadn’t lost in 14 straight sets. The Razorbacks responded by handing them three straight losses, which marks 18 straight wins for Arkansas. The Hogs have now reached a record six-game sweep, last achieved in the 2001 season.
It was also Colorado’s first loss this season, and both teams are now 7-1. The Hogs and Buffs received votes in this week’s AVCA poll.
“Really strong performance this weekend. Collectively proud of the team effort. We played really clean today, we struggled to find points against a great team from Colorado,” the team said. “Head coach Jason Watson. “I think we’re in a good position to approach two equally tough non-conference games. I’m looking forward to playing at home on Thursday and Friday.
Junior Taylor Head carried the Hog offense again in Sunday’s Arkansas Invitational Finals with 13 kills and 10 digs for a double-double. She also had a team-best three service aces, which is a new season high. Sophomore setter Hannah Hogue paced the Hogs with 24 assists and 14 digs for a double-double performance as well, her third of the season.
Senior Maggie Cartwright was the difference on both sides of the ball that day with nine kills on 23 attempts for a .304 hit percentage and five blocks. Three Hogs had five or more blocks in Arkansas’ 12-team total, the third time the Razorbacks have posted a season-best dozen blocks. Cartwright and graduate middle tackle Tatum Shipes had five, while graduate Abigail Archibong led Arkansas with a season-high six.
Arkansas started the game on a 5-3 streak, but Colorado stayed on the heels of the Hogs and tied the game three times early. The Razorbacks then chained a four-point streak with two kills from Head, one from Cartwright and a solo block from Hailey Dirrigl for a 15-11 lead at media timeout. The Hogs then scored four of the next six runs, which sent the Buffs to a timeout with Arkansas leading 19-13. The break rejuvenated Colorado and the visitors came within one at 19-18, but Arkansas responded and tied a 5-2 run to force the set point. The Buffs called time, but a Cartwright kill ended the set 25-20 in favor of the Razorbacks.
The Hogs came out blazing in the second set with a 9-3 advantage to start, which included two aces from second-year Libero Courtney Jackson and a pair of kills from Head. The Buffs called time but couldn’t generate much off the break, and Arkansas quickly went up 14-5. The Hogs added three more runs to double the lead, and Colorado curled up again. The home team went over 20 points with a Dirrigl kill and picked up two more points afterwards for a 10-point advantage. The Buffs caught three of the next four, but a service error gave Arkansas the set point. Colorado recovered one, but a Head kill made the Hogs 25-16 and put Arkansas ahead 2-0 in the game.
While the Buffaloes came within one four times early in the third set, the Hogs showed no mercy afterward. A 5-1 run at Arkansas pushed the score to 12-7 and Colorado called a timeout. The Razorbacks won four of the next five runs, including an ace from Head, and went up 16-8. A kill from Dirrigl and an ace from Gillen extended the lead to 19-10, and a block from Head and Shipes took Arkansas over 20. Colorado cut the lead to eight, but three consecutive Hog points, including consecutive Head aces. to end it, sealed Arkansas’ 25-14 set victory and the game’s third sweep in as many days.
A top-five showdown awaits the Razorbacks next as the No. 5 Georgia Tech Yellowjackets come to town Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at Barnhill Arena in the Arkansas Challenge. It will be the highest-ranked opponent Arkansas has hosted at home since No. 3 Florida in the 2017 season, in which the Razorbacks fell in five to the Gators. The game saw Arkansas’ ninth-best crowd with 1,343 fans. The Hogs will also face the NC State Wolfpack the next day, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online, over the phone, or in person through the Razorback Ticket Center.
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