OXFORD, Miss. - Extra-point losses in each of the opening two sets were too much to overcome for the Ole Miss volleyball team (10-3, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) as the Rebels lost 3-0 (24-26, 28-30, 18-25) to Arkansas on Friday evening at the Gillom Sports Center.
Playing in its SEC opener, the Rebels and Razorbacks (8-4, 1-0 SEC) played back-and-forth, tight volleyball for each of the opening two sets. In the first set, the two teams were tied on nine different occasions and exchanged leads four times. The second set proved to be even closer, as the two teams were tied 21 times and exchanged leads seven times.
"I saw some really good volleyball," Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. "Hats off to Arkansas, they did a nice job tonight. We battled real well in sets one and two and a couple plays here and there and the scores could have easily been flipped."
Freshman right side Melanie Crow registered a team-high 11 kills, while freshman setter Aubrey Edie had team-highs in assists (33) and digs (11). Junior outside hitter Marie-Pierre Bakima tallied nine kills, and sophomore middle blocker Ty Laporte had seven kills of her own.
Ole Miss rallied late in the opening game to push the set into extra points. Facing set point at 21-24, Ole Miss scored three straight points, including a service ace from Laporte, to tie the set at 24. The Razorbacks would score the next two points though and took a 1-0 lead in the match with a 26-24 win.
Following an early three-point lead by Ole Miss at 8-5 in the second set, neither team led by more than two for the remainder of the set. After multiple set-point opportunities for both sides, Arkansas finally claimed the drama-filled second set 30-28 with a kill from outside hitter Meredith Hays. Crow paced the Ole Miss attack in the second set with six kills, while Edie passed out a dozen assists.
The Rebels and Razorbacks were again tied midway through the third set at 13-13, but Arkansas closed out the set and the match on a 12-5 run to win 25-18.
Ole Miss plays again Sunday at the Gillom Sports Center against No. 3 Florida. The highly ranked Gators will come to Oxford riding a seven-match winning streak after defeating Mississippi State 3-0 Friday evening. Sophomore Â?iva Recek (3.61 kills per set) and senior Chloe Mann (3.49 kills per set) entered the week sixth and eighth, respectively, in kills in the SEC.
"That's the SEC," Getzin said. "We have No. 3 coming to town and I'm looking forward to putting the team back out there with the attitude we carried tonight and good things will come our way."
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, including daily recaps, live stats and results, go to OleMissSports.com. Fans unable to attend Sunday's match against Florida can still watch the Rebels on WatchRebelVision.com. Fans can also follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and on Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
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