OXFORD, Miss. - One week after splitting a pair of road matches at Alabama and South Carolina, the Ole Miss volleyball team (8-6, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) returns home to take on Kentucky on Friday and SEC West co-leader Arkansas on Sunday.
The Rebels' match vs. Kentucky (9-6, 3-2 SEC) will begin at 7 p.m. CT, while the match Sunday against Arkansas (13-3, 4-1 SEC) will begin at 1:30 p.m. CT.
"Kentucky and Arkansas are two big, physical teams," Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. "We're going to have to clean up our side of the court a little bit and continue to put pressure on them, and we're improving at that."
After competing on the road last weekend, Getzin is happy to return to the friendly confines of the Gillom Sports Center, where Ole Miss is a perfect 4-0 this year, including a 3-1 victory over Mississippi State on Sept. 21.
"We are excited about being back at home and playing these two teams," Getzin said. "A big home crowd for two matches like what we have this weekend can have a huge impact on the atmosphere we create and can give us a real advantage in the matches. I hope we can get big crowds at the Gillom Center to cheer us on."
The first 100 fans at the match Friday night to bring in the Facebook coupon from the Ole Miss Volleyball Facebook page will receive a free six-pack cooler. On Sunday, one fan will have the opportunity to win cash between sets in the Cash Cube. There will also be a volleyball clinic following the match against Arkansas where kids eighth grade and younger can learn more about the game.
Ole Miss has been led offensively by junior outside hitter Kara Morgan and senior right side Allegra Wells. Morgan is averaging 3.23 kills per set, while Wells has been recording 2.81 kills per set.
Freshman middle blocker Ty Laporte is coming off a strong weekend in which she had seven kills and three block assists against Alabama and seven kills and five total blocks against South Carolina.
Amanda Philpot continues to be one of the more aggressive setters in the SEC, averaging 1.94 kills per set in addition to her 9.29 assists per set. Philpot continues to lead the SEC with two triple-doubles this season, including one in the Rebels' last home match against Mississippi State on Sept. 21.
Senior Ashley Veach has thrived in her first year starting at the libero position. Veach is currently second in the SEC in overall matches with 4.96 digs per set.
The Wildcats enter Friday night's contest on a three-match win streak, including a pair of wins last weekend over then No. 25 Tennessee and Auburn. The Rebels are 6-10 against Kentucky in the Joe Getzin era. Ole Miss fell to the Wildcats 3-1 in Lexington, Ky., last year and dropped a tight 3-2 match at home.
The Rebels are 10-9 against the Razorbacks under Getzin, and are 10-2 against Arkansas since 2006. Each team won on its own home floor last season, as Ole Miss won 3-2 in Oxford before falling to the Razorbacks 3-0 in Fayetteville, Ark. The Rebels have experienced success against Arkansas at home, defeating the Razorbacks in Oxford in each of the past six seasons. Arkansas is receiving votes in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association National Poll, and is No. 16 in the latest NCAA RPI. Arkansas senior outside hitter Jasmine Norton is the active kills leader in the SEC with 1,557, and currently ranks eighth in the SEC in all matches with 3.57 kills per set this season.
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, including recaps, live stats and results, go to OleMissSports.com. Follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and go to Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
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