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TUSCALOOSA, ALA. – The Alabama volleyball team improved to 8-1 on the season following a 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 14-25, 25-22) win over the Austin Peay Lady Govs on Friday night in the Hampton Inn Bama Bash. The Crimson Tide posted a season-high 65 kills in the match, as four players reached double figures in kills and digs.
The 8-1 start for the Tide is the best start to a season since opening the 2005 campaign with a 13-1 mark. Alabama had a .247 hitting percentage, while the Lady Govs (3-9) posted a .259 hitting percentage against the Tide.
‘“I do not mind back and forth playing, at a level that we are capable of playing at, I did not like the back and forth tonight,” head coach Ed Allen said. “We were losing the battle at the net; they were just beating us up at the net. The fact that that was back and forth was frustrating. We expected that to happen, they kept the ball alive and they’re aggressive. They pursue balls and they did a great job of forcing us to beat them.”
Alabama was paced by Kayla Fitterer’s season-high 18 kills, while Katherine White had a career night as the sophomore middle blocker had career highs with 13 kills and a .706 hitting percentage. White had just on hitting error in 13 attempts on Friday night.
Andrea McQuaid had 12 kills and Laura Steiner had 11 for the Tide. Steiner came off the bench to provide a spark for Alabama, as she recorded 10 of her 11 kills in the final two sets.
“Laura Steiner has played sporadically for the season, but she has appeared in just about every match that we have played in some capacity,” Allen said. “The truth is that Steiner got in because Pricilla Duke- Ezeji wasn’t doing it for us. Bottom line is, she came in and she was a spark plug. She has the ability to heat it up pretty quickly and give quality swings and be aggressive with what she does. She is not playing like a freshman; she’s playing like a kid that has been here for a while. Right now we desperately need that.”
McQuaid posted her second double-double of the season and 17th of her career, as she was one of four players to record double digits in digs with 14. Fitterer posted her first double-double of the season, the 26th of her career, as she had 12 digs to go along with her 18 kills.
Cristina Arenas had a season and match-high 27 digs and Kryssi Daniels had 11 digs after posting a season-high 12 against Lamar earlier on Friday. Daniels also added a pair of aces in the match and Sierra Wilson finished the night with 55 assists.
Alabama was out-hit in the opening set, but with the score tied at 21-21, the Tide was helped by three errors by Austin Peay’s Jada Stotts as UA won the first set 25-21. In the second set, Alabama hit .302 compared to a .244 hitting mark by APSU as the Tide took a 2-0 lead in the match with a 25-21. Once again the score was knocked at 21-21, but three kills by Fitterer and an error by Stotts gave the Tide the final four points of the set.
Austin Peay made things interesting in the third set, posting a 25-14 win over Bama. APSU hit .444 for the set, while holding UA to a .143 mark. The fourth set was tightly contested as well, as Alabama walked away with a 25-22 victory and a four-set win on the night. Once again the score was tied at 21, and once again a pair of errors by Stotts helped Bama open a 23-21 lead. A serve error on Bama cut to lead to one, and then after Nikki Doyle committed an attack error, Steiner put down the final point with her 11th kills of the night ended the match.
Alabama will play its final two matches of the Hampton Inn Bama Bash on Saturday against Alabama State and East Tennessee State. The Tide takes on the Hornets at 11:30 a.m. and the Buccaneers at 7 p.m., at Foster Auditorium.
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