2011 SEASON REVIEW
The University of Arkansas volleyball team continued its push toward joining the nation’s elite programs with a 2011 campaign that featured team and individual growth. Overall, the Razorbacks experienced their highest win total in six years. The 2011 season marked the fourth under head coach Robert Pulliza. “We had a good year with an 18-13 record in the SEC, one of the toughest conferences in the country, and against a tough schedule,” Pulliza said. “I’m proud of our kids. But it definitely feels a bit incomplete. Unfortunately, we couldn’t play ourselves in (to the NCAA Championship) but we still had a good year. We won more and I’m excited about where the program is headed because the best is still to come.” Arkansas’ 18 overall wins and 10 conference wins are program highs under Pulliza. The team finished second in the SEC Western Division, its highest conference finish since tying for the division title in 2005. The Razorbacks’ 18 wins are the most for the team since the 2005 season, while the 10 SEC wins are the most since the conference moved to its current double round-robin format. The team’s success came against a tough schedule that featured six opponents that advanced to the 2011 NCAA Championship. Along with SEC foes Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee, the field of 64 in the national tournament includes non-conference opponents Colorado State, Middle Tennessee and Oklahoma. Nine of the Razorbacks’ 13 losses on the season came against that group. “To give you an idea of the state of the team, when we took over the program our RPI was 140,” Pulliza said. “This year, we got as high as 56. As of last week before playing LSU, we were 63rd which means we were one of the best 64 teams in the country. So, we have become one of the best teams in the country once again and we’ve made a big 54
progression from 140 to 56. That’s significant. That said, we can still be in a better place.” During the team’s non-conference schedule, Arkansas won a pair of tournaments with victories at the Deacon Invitational in Winston-Salem, N.C., and the West Point Challenge in New York. The Razorbacks carried an non-conference record of 8-3, the sixth-best by an Arkansas team heading into SEC play. Along the way, the Razorbacks collected a handful of all-tournament accolades with Roslandy Acosta (Arkansas Invitational), Kasey Heckelman (Arkansas Invitational), Jasmine Norton (West Point Challenge), Raymariely Santos (Arkansas Invitational, Deacon Invitational), Kelli Stipanovich (Deacon Invitational, West Point Challenge) and Janeliss Torres-Lopez (West Point Challenge) all being recognized for their respective performances. The awards kept coming during the SEC schedule. Stipanovich earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors following a standout effort at Florida and South Carolina. The following week, Norton won her first of two SEC Player of the Week awards; she earned her second selection after a road trip to Georgia and Auburn. Christa Alvarez, the only true freshman staring libero in the conference, was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week after a home sweep of Ole Miss and Alabama. With their seasons done, Norton and Stipanovich were honored by the conference coaches when they were named to the All-SEC Team. Norton earned All-SEC First Team honors while Stipanovich was tabbed an All-SEC Second Team performer. Norton became the sixth player in program history to earn three career All-SEC honors. It was the first All-SEC recognition for Stipanovich.
2012 ARKANSAS RAZORBACK VOLLEYBALL MEDIA GUIDE
2012 Arkansas Volleyball Media Guide with bios, history, stats and records