FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Ole Miss freshman middle blocker Nakeyta Clair had a season-high tying 14 kills, but the Rebels (11-16, 5-13 Southeastern Conference) couldn’t top Arkansas on the road, falling 3-1 (25-17, 16-25, 22-25, 22-25) Sunday afternoon.
“We played fairly well today. We came out and won the first set and in the fourth game we were up 22-20, so we just have to make some plays at the end,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “We didn’t stay aggressive.”
In addition to Clair’s 14 kills, the freshman from Country Club Hills, Ill., also had a season-high seven block assists. Senior libero Ashley Veach finished with 20 digs, her highest total in four matches. Senior setter Amanda Philpot finished with 39 assists on the afternoon, giving her 908 this season, the third highest total in program history during the rally scoring era.
“Nakeyta is proving herself to be one of the up and coming middle blockers in this league,” Getzin said. “Our freshmen did a real nice job today. Ashley Veach, our senior libero, had a match-high 20 digs. We’re doing some great things, we just have to close it out to win the match.”
Ole Miss came out hot to start the match, tallying kills on four of its first six attacks. Back-to-back service aces by Ty Laporte, her 17th and 18th of the season, gave Ole Miss a five-point lead at 12-7. Following a 6-1 run by the Razorbacks to tie the set at 13-13, Ole Miss shifted into high gear for the remainder of the set. The Rebels went on a 9-1 run to take a 22-14 lead, and went on to win the set 25-17. Clair and Allegra Wells had four kills each in the opening frame, Philpot passed out eight assists and Veach had seven digs. Wells finished the match with seven kills and a season-high tying five block assists.
Ole Miss dropped the second set 25-16. With Arkansas leading by one point at 10-9, the Razorbacks went on a 6-0 run to take a 16-9 lead they wouldn’t surrender. Ole Miss was led in the set by three kills and three block assists from Clair, and three kills and seven assists from Philpot.
Ole Miss led 10-7 in the third set, but a 6-0 run by the Razorbacks forced Ole Miss to use its first timeout. The Rebels made their comeback about midway through the third set. Trailing by five points at 12-17, Ole Miss went on a 4-0 run to cut the deficit to a single point. The two teams would exchange the next six points until Arkansas went on a 5-3 run to win 25-23 and take a 2-sets-to-1 lead in the match. Clair had another five kills in the third set, and Philpot passed out 11 assists.
The fourth set was a drama-filled affair down the stretch. Ole Miss built a 20-17 lead, prompting the Razorbacks to use their first timeout. Arkansas came out of the break scoring three straight points to force an Ole Miss timeout. The Rebels then scored two straight points to take a 22-20 lead and force Arkansas to use its final timeout. The Razorbacks then scored three straight points to take a 23-22 lead and force Ole Miss into their final timeout. The Razorbacks finished off the match after the timeout with two straight points to win the set 25-22, and the match, 3-1.
Ole Miss will close out its season this week with a pair of home matches Wednesday and Friday against Alabama and Texas A&M. The Rebels will face Alabama on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT, with the match being aired on Cox Sports TV. Ole Miss will honor its seniors, Ashley Anderson, Whitney Craven, Courtney Cunningham, Amanda Philpot, Kiley Sherman, Ashley Veach and Allegra Wells following Wednesday’s match. The final match of the season will be Friday at 7 p.m. CT against the SEC’s Western Division leader, Texas A&M.
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, go to OleMissSports.com. Follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and go to Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
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