FAYETTEVILLE — Behind a balanced attack featuring 19 combined kills from middle blockers Elizabeth Pamphile and Kelly O’Brien, Arkansas posted a straight-set victory over Tennessee in Wednesday’s SEC opener.
Redshirt senior Pilar Victoria led all players with 17 kills and the Razorbacks registered seven service aces on their way to a fifth-consecutive win.
With the win, Arkansas improves to 11-2 overall and 1-0 in league play.
The Razorbacks return to their home floor Sunday afternoon to host third-ranked Florida. First serve of the weekend finale is scheduled for 1 p.m. (CT) at Barnhill Arena.
Single match tickets are $5 while UA students and fans 17 years and younger receive free admission with a valid ID.
Arkansas 3, Tennessee 0 | Box Score
Attendance: 833 | Time: 1:26
Barnhill Arena (Fayetteville, Ark.)
- Leaders vs Tennessee
- Kills: Pilar Victoria – 17
- Digs: Okiana Valle – 11
- Blocks: Pilar Victoria – 4.0 (1-3)
Pamphile and O’Brien each tied their respective career highs with 12 and seven kills, respectively, and combined for a .517 hitting percentage. The pair also contributed defensively with three total blocks each.
Sophomore setter Rachel Rippee had 39 assists in the match and guided the team to a .291 hitting percentage. Reagan Robinson and Hailey Dirrigl added seven and six kills, respectively.
Victoria, the reigning and three-time SEC Offensive Player of the Week, added seven digs, four total blocks and two service aces to her kill production.
With 17 kills against Tennessee, she continues her run of having at least 15 kills in each match this season.
Junior libero Okiana Valle paced a trio of double-digit performers with a match-high 11 digs. Seniors Kori Ortiz and Krista Kolbinskie each had 10 digs.
Arkansas led throughout the opening set, building an early 9-5 lead after back-to-back-to-back kills by Robinson that forced Tennessee (7-3, 0-1 SEC) to use its first time out.
The visitors pulled to within two at 14-12 but the Razorbacks won four of the next five points for an 18-13 advantage.
Arkansas won the last three points of the set, securing the frame with a service ace by Rippee for a 1-0 match lead.
After dropping the first point of the second set, the Razorbacks rattled off six of the next seven to seize control of play. The lead reached as high as eight points after a block by Pamphile and Victoria gave the home team a 14-6 lead.
The Volunteers never got closer than three points in the set and a tandem block by Dirrigl and O’Brien took Arkansas to set point at 24-19. The ensuing play featured a kick save by Rippee that extended a rally that was eventually ended by Victoria’s 11th kill.
With the score tied at 5-all in the third set, Tennessee used a 4-1 surge to go ahead and used a block to further its lead to 11-7.
However, the Razorbacks responded to tie the score on a Dirrigl kill and take its first lead of the set at 15-14 with an ace by Valle.
Looking to post its seventh sweep of the season, Arkansas turned a 7-1 push to turn a tie score into a 22-16 lead with a kill by Pamphile. Tennessee saved three match points but Victoria closed out the match with a kill down the line.