Arkansas started its final two games of the regular season with a bang as the Hogs defeated the Auburn Tigers in straight sets on Friday.
The match was the fourth straight win for the Razorbacks and the first time Arkansas has won at Auburn since 2014. The Hogs held the Tigers to a .000 batting average, the lowest for Auburn all season. The Razorbacks are now 19-8 in the season and 10-7 in conference, and the Tigers move to 21-7 and an even 10-7 with the Hogs in the SEC.
Junior Taylor Head had a team high of 12 kills and 10 digs for her 15th double-double of the season. Her eighth career kill of the day took her to 1,000 and she is the 18th member of the Arkansas 1,000 Kill Club.
The Razorbacks had another great outing on defense with a dozen blocks, highlighted by former Tiger and graduate transfer middle Tatum Shipes with five. Three other hogs also had five blocks: Abigail Archibong, Jill Gillen, and Maggie Cartwright.
The two teams played closely at the beginning and the result was four draws. Auburn briefly took the lead, but the Hogs responded with five straight points to take a 12-9 lead. The Tigers came inside a couple of times, but the Hogs made three more, including two kills from Head, for a 20-15 advantage. Auburn called the time and scored three of the next four points, but Arkansas closed the set with a four-point tear, topped by an ace from Courtney Jackson, for the 25-18 win.
The Hogs kept the throttle on the second frame and got going early with a 6-1 run. The Tigers added three, but Arkansas responded with five unanswered, including a solo block from Gillen and an ace from Head, and Auburn took a 12-4 timeout. It was all Arkansas from there, and the Razorbacks went up 19-7 at 12 after a dump kill from Gracie Ryan and an ace from Gillen. The Tigers bet two, but a four-point streak ended in heads 1,000. Kill in his career to bring Arkansas to two. Auburn came through double figures, but Cartwright closed 25-10 in favor of the Hogs.
Auburn found a rhythm in the third and quickly took the lead, but Arkansas fitted in quickly, rattling off six points for a 9-7 lead. The Razorbacks limited the Tigers to one point each from there, while a kill and an ace from Gillen took Arkansas’ lead to four at 14-10. The momentum broke the Hogs’ path further as they scored four unanswered goals at 19-12 and held the lead easily from there. Back-to-back blocks carried the Razorbacks away in twos, and an Auburn attacking error gave Arkansas a set and match point. The Tigers spoiled it four times, resulting in a razorback timeout. Auburn came within one, but a Tiger attacking error finished it 25-23 for the Hogs.
The regular season finale for the Razorbacks is scheduled for Saturday, November 26 at 7 p.m. in Auburn. The game will be streamed live on SEC Network Plus.
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