State Sports Letters

VOLLEYBALL

UA extends Watson’s contract

FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas volleyball coach Jason Watson signed a new contract earlier this month that has the potential to run through 2027.

Watson’s contract was announced Thursday by the UA and submitted to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette through a Freedom of Information Act request. He is scheduled to receive $225,000 before bonuses, and he could earn up to $25,000 in raises for two NCAA tournament appearances.

The Razorbacks (15-8, 6-7 SEC) have five games left in the regular season. Ranked statewide earlier this season, Arkansas has a strong schedule that is expected to improve its NCAA tournament chances. The Razorbacks have missed the postseason the past two seasons despite a winning tally.

Watson has a 99-95 record in seven seasons at Arkansas and a 299-241 career record that includes his stints at BYU and Arizona State. He has led 11 teams to the NCAA tournament.

Watson’s contract runs through the 2025 season but can be extended up to two years if his team participates in the NCAA tournament twice, except this year. The new contract will not come into force until January 1st.

He was previously under contract until December 31

– Matt Jones

Harding advances, eliminates Tech

Harding opened Thursday’s Great American Conference Tournament at FireLake Arena in Shawnee, Okla with a four-set win over Arkansas Tech (17-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-20).

The Bisons, who have won six games in a row, held the Golden Suns on a .098 batting average and grabbed the final three points to advance to the semifinals.

Kelli McKinnon led the Harding offense with 15 kills while Logan Smith added a double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs. Sarah Morehead added a team-high of 30 assists as the Bisons finished with a .181 batting average.

Maddi Siedenburg finished the game with a team-high of 9 kills for Arkansas Tech, while Gracie Palmer had a match-high of 25 assists. Megan Solberg led the Golden Suns’ defense with 19 attacks.

The OBU advances in the GAC tournament

Ouachita defeated Baptist in five sets (27-25, 25-20, 16-25, 23-25, 15-12) at FireLake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma, East Central (Okla.) on Thursday to advance to the semifinals of the Great American Conference Tournament.

Haley Fairchild posted a team-high for OBU with 17 kills on 37 attacks (.351), while Riley Braziel added 16 kills on 57 attempts (.123). Courtney Hanson eased the offense with 45 assists, a team-high.

On defense, Lexie Castillow posted a match-high for OBU with 27 digs while Emily Adams recorded four blocks.

— Democrat Gazette data transmission services

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