While the No. 24 The Razorbacks dropped a set for the first time since Aug. 27 on Friday, the home team gutted out a 3-1 win over NC State to extend their record to 9-1, the best start to the season since 2012.
The team has lost just six sets on the season, with four to ranked teams for a set record of 25-6.
Senior Maggie Cartwright paced the offense for the Hogs with 16 kills and a team-best hitting percentage of .351, and also made an impact defensively with four block assists. Fellow senior Jill Gillen had 18 kills for the second consecutive night and had 13 digs for a double-double.
Arkansas posted a season high 13 blocks in the match, with graduates Abigail Archibong and Tatum Shipes adding six block assists each.
There were eight ties early in the first set, but the Hogs used a 4-0 run and went up 12-8 to send NC State to a timeout. The Razorbacks consistently maintained a four-point lead after that and extended it to five off a kill from graduate Hailey Dirrigl and an ace from Gillen for an 18-13 edge. NC State called time again, but the Hogs went to 20 first off a Wolfpack attack error. The visitors hit 18 points, but Arkansas locked in from there with three straight, which included two Cartwright kills for a 25-18 set victory.
The Hogs wasted no time to start the second and rattled off a 5-1 run, spurred by kills from Archibong, Gillen and Shipes, which sent the Wolfpack to a huddle. NC State couldn’t narrow the gap by less than two from there, and the Razorbacks began to roll with a three-point streak to double the lead at 10-5. Arkansas hit the gas with a trio of kills from Cartwright and Gillen for a 16-10 edge and NC State called time again. The Wolfpack tacked on six more points and threatened the Hogs late at 23-16, and spoiled a set point for Arkansas, but a kill from Cartwright ended the second 25-19 in favor of the home team.
Arkansas had a hot start yet again in the third with a 6-1 run, which featured kills from Cartwright and Gillen and three NC State attack errors. The Wolfpack couldn’t get much going after a timeout, and despite adding five more points, the Razorbacks added a pair for a seven-point edge and NC State called time again. Head doubled up the Arkansas lead at 16-8, but the visitors strung together a 6-1 run to cut the deficit to one. Arkansas then took a timeout, and the Wolfpack caught up fast. The Hogs reached set point once, but an Arkansas attack error and NC State kill made it 26-24 for the Wolfpack and made the match 2-1.
The fourth set was tight between the two teams with three ties through the sixth point. NC State then led by two, but Arkansas didn’t let it grow by more than that. Two Wolfpack attack errors gave the lead back to the Hogs at 11-10, and NC State called time. Arkansas then went on a 4-1 run, with a pair of kills from Cartwright, and were up 15-11 when the Wolfpack huddled. The Hogs held the momentum and didn’t let the visitors catch up by more than three after that. A kill from Dirrigl put the Razorbacks over 20 at 20-17, and while NC State cut the advantage to a pair, the Wolfpack ran out of time. Two kills from Cartwright made it 24-19, and NC State hit 20 with a kill. Shipes then closed the door with a kill for a 25-20 set final and 3-1 match victory.
Arkansas opens conference play with an away match in Baton Rouge against LSU on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7 pm The match will be streamed live on SEC Network Plus.
Visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com for the latest information on all things Arkansas Volleyball. You can also find the Hogs on social media by liking us on Facebook (Arkansas Razorback Volleyball) and following us on Twitter and Instagram (@RazorbackVB).