Arkansas volleyball duo earn SEC weekly honors

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Gracie Ryan (21) was named the SEC Co-Setter of the Week after recording 92 total assists against South Carolina. (Photo courtesy of ArkansasRazorbacks.com)

Two Razorbacks were honored with weekly recognitions from the Southeastern Conference this week, as junior setter Gracie Ryan earned SEC Co-Setter of the Week and freshman Taylor Head earned SEC Freshman of the Week. It is the third weekly award for both Ryan and Head this season.

Ryan recorded 92 assists against South Carolina, including her third performance of 50 assists or more with 55 assists versus the Gamecocks on Friday. Her 92 assists accounted for 97% of Arkansas’ total assists and yielded 87% of Arkansas’ kills. 

With Ryan under the set, Arkansas hit .296 in the series sweep and averaged 13.25 kills per set. The Florida-native contributed to an Arkansas offense that posted a .277 hitting percentage on night one, a season-best in five sets for the Hogs. She has been a crucial part of the Razorback attack that has built a .219 hitting percentage in 22 matches, the best by an Arkansas squad since 2017.

Head had an incredible weekend in the cardinal and white as well, posting a season-high 18 kills in game one and recording her league-leading 13th double-double of the season, tacking on 14 digs to her stat sheet in the win. Head’s double-double brings Arkansas’ season total to a whopping 32 double-doubles amongst the Razorbacks.

Head now has 14 matches with double-digit kills and 16 with double-digit digs. She as posted three-straight performances with double-digit digs, each match with more digs than the last. Over the weekend, Head averaged 3.63 digs per set, leading her team on the defensive front.

With the help of Ryan and Head, Arkansas earned its first win and sweep over South Carolina since 2018. Both Razorbacks contributed to Arkansas’ 13 service aces over the course of the series, bringing the Hogs’ season average to 1.58 service aces per set, the best since the 2003 season and fourth-best all-time.

Ryan and Head were also a part of a serving squad that registered a season-high nine service aces in five sets against the Gamecocks on Friday. 

Arkansas is now 14-8 on the 2020-21 split season, the most conference victories since 2003. It marks just the third time in program history that the Razorbacks had 14 or more SEC wins.

The Razorbacks’ series against South Carolina wraps up the regular season; Arkansas awaits word of a possible postseason bid in the coming weeks.

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