UA SPORTS INFORMATION
LAWRENCE, Kan. - The University of Arkansas volleyball team closed out its season Friday evening with a five-set loss (16-25, 25-27, 25-17, 25-23, 15-10) to Wichita State in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Division I Championship. Roslandy Acosta led a trio of Razorbacks in double digits with a career-high 20 kills, and was joined by Jasmine Norton with 16 kills and Liz Fortado with 10. Arkansas wrapped its 2012 campaign with a 22-10 overall record and the program's 10th NCAA appearance.
Acosta completed her seventh double-double of the season with 12 digs to go along with her offensive output. Along with her 16 kills, Norton added 13 digs for her team-leading 16th double-double this season. She also tallied five total blocks. Norton closes out her Razorback career with 1,799 kills, the eighth-highest total in Southeastern Conference history. From the setter position, Raymariely Santos dished out 47 assists and had 14 digs for her 15th double-double performance. Junior libero Emily Helm led all players with 21 digs.
"First, I want to congratulate Wichita State on a great season and a great match tonight," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "We knew we would have our hands full with them and we just saw the reason why. That said, I'm very proud of our team. I'm very proud of our season. I've had a great journey that I know our players and staff will always remember. We just had a tough one tonight that didn't come our way."
In the fifth and decisive set, Arkansas won three of the first four points but the two teams continued its back-and-forth play that marked a majority of Friday's match. Fortado found the floor with her final kill of the night to even the score at 10-10, the ninth tie of game five. However, Wichita State reeled off the final five points of the set to complete the comeback victory.
With the score tied early in the first set, the Razorbacks rattled off seven points in a row to double up Wichita State on the scoreboard, 14-7. Later in the set, Arkansas used a run of four points and after back-to-back Shocker errors, the lead was 20-11. Amanda Anderson found the floor to give Arkansas set point and its first double-digit lead of the match, 24-14. Arkansas clinched the opener with a Shocker attack error.
In the opening set, the Razorbacks' offense was paced by 12 kills from its outside hitter. Acosta tallied seven kills in the first set, while Norton found the floor five times. Defensively, Arkansas held the Shockers to a -.032 hitting percentage in set one.
Wichita State led early in the second set, taking a 7-4 lead after a kill from Sam Sanders. Like they did in the first, the Razorbacks used a 7-0 charge to go ahead with a 13-8 lead. Arkansas maintained a four or five point lead until a pair of attack errors brought the Shockers to within two at 21-19. Acosta registered a kill to give her team its first of three set points, 24-23. After a kill from Fortado, fellow freshman Monica Bollinger stepped to the service line and responded with an ace that clipped the top of the net and fell to the floor to secure a 2-0 match lead.
Neither team was able to build more than a two-point lead early in the third set and the Shockers led, 15-13, at the media timeout. However, Wichita State began to build momentum and took a 19-15 lead to force a timeout from Pulliza. Arkansas won the next two points to put to within two but the Shockers closed out the set on a 6-0 run to take the set, 25-17, and force a fourth game.
Wichita State jumped out to an early 7-3 lead in the fourth set behind a handful of kills out of middle from Ashley Andrade. The Razorbacks started to chip away and cut their deficit to one with run at the service line by Ashley Vazquez. Fortado went up for a solo block to pull Arkansas even, 17-all. The Razorbacks erased a late two-point deficit and took a 23-22 advantage on a WSU attack error. Wichita State replied with a three-point push to close out the game and force a fifth set.
The Shockers were led by a match-high 23 kills from Ashley Andrade who also had a .564 hitting percentage and five total blocks from her middle blocker position. Chelsey Feekin directed the Wichita State attack with 54 assists and added 16 digs.
For more information regarding Razorback volleyball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas volleyball through the team's sport-specific RazorbackVB Facebook and Twitter pages.