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Volleyball falls to Kentucky, Arkansas at home

The Ole Miss Lady Rebel volleyball team lost a pair of home matches against Kentucky and Arkansas over the weekend. Their Southeastern Conference record has slipped to 2-5 for the year.
Tyler Jackson/The Daily Mississippian

The Ole Miss Lady Rebels returned home to the Gillom Sports Center on Friday, after a weekend of being on the road, to face off against the Kentucky Wildcats. Ole Miss totaled 16 errors, losing in straight sets (25-17, 25-18, 25-19) to the Wildcats. 
“You have a very talented Kentucky team that played pretty flawless tonight,” head coach Joe Getzin said. 
Kentucky (10-6, 4-2 SEC) took the first set with the score of 25-17. The set stayed even early on, as the teams were tied nine times before the Wildcats grabbed control of the game with a 15-11 lead. Kentucky cruised the rest of the set, not letting the Lady Rebels get within two points. Senior outside hitter Allegra Wells led the way for Ole Miss (8-7, 2-4 SEC), but the team’s six errors proved to be the difference.  
The Wildcats won the second set, 25-18, in relaxed fashion. Once Kentucky took an early 3-2 lead, it was all Wildcats from there on out. A 4-0 Kentucky run helped stretched the lead to 18-11, and Ole Miss could never recover. Another six-error set plagued the Lady Rebels’ offense, and Wells was held to one kill in four total attacks. 
“The number of errors that we had, combined with giving them too many easy balls, creates for them hitting so well,” Getzin said. 
The Wildcats claimed the third set and the match with a 25-19 score. Kentucky jumped all over the Lady Rebels early in the set, scoring the first four points and forcing a timeout by Ole Miss. After the timeout, Ole Miss scored seven of the next 10 points to tie the game at seven. The Wildcats held off the Ole Miss attack, coasting to a match victory. 
Junior outside hitter Kara Morgan led the Lady Rebels with 10 kills on 30 total attacks, and Wells added nine of her own. Senior setter Amanda Philpot recorded 27 assists and senior defensive specialist Ashley Veach led with eight digs. The Wildcats had a significant advance in digs, almost doubling Ole Miss in that category, 39-21. 
After being swept by Kentucky on Friday, the Lady Rebels returned to the court in a matchup with the Arkansas Razorbacks. After losing the first set, Arkansas won three straight sets to defeat Ole Miss 3-1 (22-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-13). 
“I think everyone can see that we can do good things,” Getzin said. “We’re just giving up bunches of points.”
Led by junior outside hitter Kara Morgan’s four kills, Ole Miss (8-8, 2-5 SEC) won a close first set, 25-22. The Lady Rebels built an early 4-1 lead, but could not pull away from Arkansas. Down 17-14, Arkansas scored the next seven out of 10 points to take their first lead of the set at 21-20. Ole Miss was able to counter by scoring five of the last six points to finish off the set. 
“Once again Kara Morgan had a great night,” Getzin said. “She’s putting up some stellar numbers for us.”
Arkansas (14-4, 6-2 SEC) scored 15 of the last 18 rallies to win the second set, 25-16. Down 13-10, the Razorbacks used a 6-0 run to grab control of the set. The Lady Rebels were only able to produce six kills in the set after tallying up 16 in the first. 
After the Razorbacks built an eight-point lead, they held off a Lady Rebel attempted comeback, winning the third set, 25-21. Trailing 17-9, Ole Miss fought back to cut the score to 23-20, but it was not enough. 
Arkansas jumped all over Ole Miss in the fourth set, winning 25-13 to claim the match. The Razorback jumped out to a 12-3 lead. Ole Miss cut the lead to five, but Arkansas proved to be too much for the Lady Rebels. 
“When passing breaks down in this game, everyone gets frustrated,” Getzin said. “You can’t keep your offense in sync going forward and that happened to us a little bit, you know, we’ve got to clean that up.”
Morgan’s 14 kills on 46 total attacks led Ole Miss, and no other player had more than 16 attacks. Senior setter Amanda Philpot recorded 35 assists and senior outside hitter Whitney Craven led the Lady Rebels with 12 digs. 
The Lady Rebels return to action this with road matches against Florida on Friday and Georgia on Sunday.
“I think the team really recognizes the potential that we have and because of that they know that we’re not out of it,” Getzin said.
For continuing coverage of Ole Miss volleyball, follow @thedm_sports and @CamalPetro on Twitter.