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The Comeback Cats

Posted: Nov 11, 2012 3:44 PM

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Arkansas staged a come-from-behind win to down Kentucky 3-2 (22-25, 16-25, 25-19, 25-20, 15-10) on Sunday afternoon in Barnhill Arena on the campus of the University of Arkansas. UK earned a 2-0 lead in the match and then saw the Razorbacks take the final three frames for the win to sweep the season series.

With the loss Kentucky falls to 17-10 on the season and 11-6 in Southeastern Conference action. Arkansas improves to 19-8 and 10-6 within league competition. Kentucky returns to the floor on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 1:30 p.m. ET. Kentucky will welcome Georgia to Memorial Coliseum and will celebrate Senior Day.

"We didn't do a good enough job stopping Arkansas' point scorers in the fourth and fifth games," UK coach Craig Skinner said. "We also didn't execute on our side of the net like we did in the first two sets. We'll get back in the gym and figure it out this week."

Junior Whitney Billings led the Wildcats with another double-double effort with 18 kills and 15 digs. Senior Ashley Frazier added 13 kills with junior Alexandra Morgan and sophomore Lauren O'Conner chipping in with 10 kills apiece.

Senior Christine Hartmann dished out 53 assists and added eight digs. Senior Stephanie Klefot logged 17 digs with junior Jessi Greenberg and sophomore Jackie Napper both tallying 12.

Freshman Sara Schwarzwalder led the effort at the net with a career-high tying eight blocks to couple with three kills.

Arkansas earned a 2-0 lead to begin the fifth set and pushed ahead to a lead as large as four. UK pulled back to within two at 9-7 on a kill from Hartmann prompting the Razorbacks to take their first timeout. Out of the break, Kentucky had an errant attack to push the lead back to three. The margin was enough to allow Arkansas to complete the come-from-behind victory with a 15-10 fifth set win.

The Razorbacks charted nine kills on .318 hitting in the final frame. Kentucky managed six on a .083 clip. Billings had three in the final frame.

Kentucky raced out to an early 7-3 lead with the Blue and White registering six kills and an ace to get things started. Billings came out firing with three early kills to jump-start the offense. Frazier added four early kills as the Wildcats maintained the early edge, but a home team run enabled the Backs to get to within one at 15-14 and UK used a timeout.

Out of the break the Razorbacks capitalized on an ace to tie the match before Frazier smoked another kill down the line to reclaim the lead for the Blue and White at 17-15. The margin would be enough to hang on for a 25-22 opening set victory.

Frazier and Billings combined for 14 kills as UK posted 20 in the stanza on a .429 hitting percentage. Arkansas tallied 14 on a .316 clip. Hartmann dished out 17 assists and Klefot led the defensive effort with six digs in the frame.

The Blue and White captured a 25-16 second set win to take a 2-0 lead into the break. The Wildcats tallied just 10 kills on .129 hitting, but it was UK's defense that proved to be the difference. Kentucky accounted for five blocks and 18 digs in the set led by Greenberg's six to stay alive. Arkansas was flustered into just seven kills on a .000 hitting percentage in the stanza. Schwarzwalder was in on four of UK's rejections.

Kentucky again opened up an early set lead at 2-0 behind a kill from Morgan and an ace from Billings. Arkansas clawed back and eventually tied the score at 10 before taking its first lead in the match at 11-10. With the scored tied at 12, UK rattled off six straight behind a pair of aces from Hartmann to open up an 18-12 advantage it would not relinquish. Billings ended the frame with her second ace of the set to cap off the frame in stylish fashion.

Arkansas began the scoring in the third set, but UK jumped out to another quick lead at 5-3 behind a kill from Morgan. The home team fought back and knotted things at seven apiece. Arkansas eventually was able to take a one-point lead at 13-12 and Kentucky opted to take a timeout. The Razorbacks kept the pressure on and were able to stretch the margin to a three-point edge at 19-16. The margin proved to be enough as the Razorbacks finished the frame with a 25-19 win to prolong the match.

UK posted 11 kills on .189 hitting with four coming from O'Conner. The Backs struck for 18 hammer son .325 hitting.

The Razorbacks forced a decisive fifth set on the heels of a 25-20 fourth set win. Arkansas forced the Wildcats into nine errors with UK only posting 11 kills on .053 hitting. The home team in turn posted 12 on .152 hitting.

Arkansas quickly jumped out to a 4-1 lead and never trailed the rest of the way. Kentucky saved set point three times before the Razorbacks converted an overpass for the set's winning point.

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