Valle cracks top five in five-set loss at LSU


BATON ROUGE, La. — Arkansas saved four match points in the fifth set Sunday afternoon before LSU came away with the 3-2 victory at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge.

Pilar Victoria and Hailey Dirrigl registered 21 and 17 kills, respectively, to pace the offense while junior libero Okiana Valle used 16 digs to move into the program’s top five for all-time digs.

LSU 3, Arkansas 2 | Box Score
Attendance: 996 | Time: 2:34
Pete Maravich Assembly Center (Baton Rouge, La.)


  • Leaders at LSU
    • Kills: Pilar Victoria – 21
    • Digs: Krista Kolbinskie, Okiana Valle – 16
    • Blocks: Kelly O’Brien, Pilar Victoria – 6.0

The Razorbacks return to Barnhill Arena for their next match, a Friday, Oct. 13, matchup against South Carolina.

First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. Arkansas — 6-1 on its home floor this season — owns a 24-12 advantage in the program’s all-time series with the Gamecocks including wins in 12 of the 17 matches played in Fayetteville.

With the setback, the Razorbacks drop to 12-6 overall with a 2-4 mark in SEC play. Sunday’s match was the team’s eighth five setter of the season—4-4 in those matches—and the fifth in the last seven meetings between the two programs. Four of Arkansas’ six losses this season have been decided in the five sets.

In the final frame, the score was tied at 3-3 when LSU (13-4, 4-2 SEC) scored three straight and five of the next six to lead 8-4 as the teams switched sides of the court.

The Tigers maintained its advantage, pushing its lead to as many as six points at 14-8. Arkansas responded with a 4-0 run that featured two Victoria kills and a tandem block by Victoria and Kelly O’Brien.

However, LSU secured the victory with a kill down the line on the next rally.

Arkansas lost the opening set and the score was tied 18-all in the second set before the Razorbacks won seven of the final 10 points in the second to even the match.

The team used a similar push in the third — seven of nine — to end that set to take a 2-1 match lead.

In a back-and-forth fourth set, the Razorbacks had two match points after back-to-back kills by Dirrigl but LSU rallied take five of the next six points to send the match to five.

To go along with her offensive effort, Victoria registered 14 digs to complete the 25th double-double of her Arkansas career. The redshirt senior also tied career highs with six total blocks and three service aces.

For Dirrigl, Sunday’s matched marked her fourth-consecutive outing with double-digit kills. In two matches this weekend, the freshman attacker averaged 3.20 kills per set with a .358 hitting percentage.

With her sixth dig of the match, Valle moved past Jasmine Norton (2009-12) on the program’s career list and currently ranks fifth in program history with 1,141 digs, just two behind Kim Storey (1995-98) in fourth place.

Krista Kolbinskie also picked up 16 digs in the match, tying her career high. Fellow senior and team co-captain Kori Ortiz had nine digs against the Tigers to move onto Arkansas’ career top-20 list.

O’Brien finished Sunday’s match with seven kills — and a .545 hitting percentage — which equals her career high. She tallied six total blocks, and now has at least six blocks in four of the Razorbacks’ last seven matches. Freshman Elizabeth Pamphile had five blocks of her own.