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Sept. 18, 2009

Box Score

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – South Carolina could not overcome a scrappy Arkansas team in the Southeastern Conference opener, falling 25-16, 25-21, 25-15, on Friday evening in Barnhill Arena.

The Gamecocks (8-2, 0-1 SEC) saw senior libero Sarah Cline post her 10th double-digit dig contest of the campaign with 15. Senior Meredith Moorhead led South Carolina with five block assists to tie her career high. Sophomore Teresa Stenlund posted a career best with nine kills to top the Gamecocks in that category. Arkansas freshman Jasmine Norton led all players with 17 kills and five blocks, while Amanda Anderson added 11 kills. The Razorbacks (7-5, 1-0 SEC) saw four players in double digits in digs, with Phoebe Bautista leading everyone with 20. Setter Lindsay Scanlan put together a double-double with 10 digs and 40 assists.

Arkansas posted a seven-point run to break open a close first set, 16-8. Stenlund ended the string with a kill, but the Razorbacks came back with a six-point skein to push their advantage to 22-9. Two kills and a block in the later run came from Norton. The Gamecocks tried to get back in the frame with a five-point run, but the squads traded sideouts to end the set at 25-16 in favor of Arkansas. Norton led the Razorbacks with six kills, including the final three that ended the frame. Arkansas made 27 digs in the first set alone compared to 12 for South Carolina.

The Razorbacks tried to duplicate their first-set run in the second, posting a six-point string to make it 11-6 in their favor. But this time South Carolina responded with a four-point run that included two kills and a block assist from Moorhead to get within one. Arkansas got a three-point run behind Norton’s kill and ace, but South Carolina came back with a five-point stretch to take a 15-14 lead that forced the first Arkansas timeout of the match. Stenlund had two kills to start that run. Out of the break, the Razorbacks got the lead back on a Kelly Stipanovich kill and a let ace from Janeliss Torres. Stenlund tied it at 16-16, but consecutive kills by Stipanovich and a pair of Gamecock errors put the Razorbacks back to a four-point lead. But Arkansas would prevail, 25-21, with Norton ending the set again with a cross-court winner. The Razorbacks once again won the digs battle, 26-21.

For the third set in a row, Arkansas waited until the seven-point mark to make a stand, posting four straight points on kills by Torres, Anderson and Stipanovich and a block by Anderson and Kristin Seaton to take an 11-8 lead. The teams traded points for a bit until Arkansas posted another four-point run to force the Gamecocks to use their final timeout of the frame at 17-11. But the break didn’t stop Arkansas’s momentum, as the Hogs peeled off four more points, three on a pair of kills by Norton and a block assist from the freshman, to make it 21-11. The Razorbacks wrapped things up at 25-15 on a Torres kill, punctuated by the lights going out right after the final point.

Arkansas won every team statistical category, as they become the first team to out-dig South Carolina on the season, 77-45.

The Gamecocks return to action on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. EDT at Ole Miss.