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Arkansas volleyball #5 in SEC Preseason Poll

Arkansas Razorbacks
Arkansas Razorbacks(KBTX)
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 3:13 PM CDT
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The Razorback volleyball team has been tabbed No. 5 in the SEC, as announced in the Preseason Coaches Poll on Wednesday.

Arkansas looks to build off of a successful season last year, which featured a 14-8 SEC record, the most conference wins for the Razorbacks since 2003. Head coach Jason Watson was named SEC Coach of the Year for the first time in his tenure, and the team returns All-SEC honorees Jillian Gillen and Taylor Head.

Gillen, a junior, led the Razorbacks in kills last season with 322 and service aces with 38. She was also named to the AVCA All-South Region Team and was an SEC Scholar-Athlete.

Head was named the SEC Freshman of the Year as the only rookie in Division I to be ranked in the top 20 in kills (2.92) and digs (3.17) per set. Her 242 total kills and 263 total digs were both also second-best on the Arkansas squad. Head also had an SEC-best 13 double-doubles on the season and garnered AVCA All-South Region honors along with Gillen. Head, Gillen and setter Gracie Ryan appeared in each of Arkansas’ 83 sets last season and started each match.

The team lost five seniors following the 2020 season, but adds a talented group of freshmen in Jada Lawson, Courtney Jackson, Hannah Hogue and Zoi Evans. Watson also added graduate transfer Abigail Archibong from Kansas State in the off-season. Archibong, a middle blocker, helped lead Kansas State to its best Big 12 finish since 2008 last season, registered the Wildcats’ first double-digit block effort since 2018, and was a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree.

The defending national champion Kentucky Wildcats topped the SEC Coaches Poll, followed by Florida, LSU, Tennessee, and then Arkansas to round out the top five. South Carolina, Texas A&M, Georgia, Missouri, Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Auburn took the sixth through 12th spots, respectively.

The Razorbacks host Missouri State this Saturday, August 21 for an exhibition match at Barnhill Arena at 2 p.m. Arkansas officially opens its season at home against Arkansas-Pine Bluff Friday, August 27 at 7 p.m. and begins SEC play with a midweek home match against LSU on Sept. 22.

The Razorbacks will play 13 matches in Barnhill Arena this fall and season tickets are still available for $40. Fans can purchase season tickets  HERE or by calling the Razorback Ticket Center at (479) 575-5151.

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).

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