Nov. 1, 2013
Tuscaloosa, Ala. - The Alabama volleyball team returned to Foster Auditorium on Friday night to post a 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-21) Southeastern Conference victory over Mississippi State. Krystal Rivers paced the Crimson Tide with 19 kills and a .562 hitting percentage against the Bulldogs.
Rivers, the current SEC Co-Freshman of the Week, was one of three Tide (18-6, 6-4 SEC) players to reach double figures in kills. She led Alabama with five total blocks, including two solos and three assisted. Laura Steiner came off the bench to post 11 kills and Brittany Thomas finished the night with 10 kills and nine digs.
Andrea McQuaid notched her third straight match with a better than .350 hitting percentage, as she finished the night with six kills and a .429 hitting mark. Sophomore setter Sierra Wilson dished out 50 assists in the four sets to average 12.50 assists per set. Wilson, who now has 2,292 assists in her career, also had five digs and two assisted blocks.
Defensively, Alabama finished the night with 10 blocks to limit the Bulldogs (11-12, 2-7 SEC) to a .207 hitting efficiency. Although the Tide was out-dug 55-52, Bama got 15 digs from Kryssi Dainels, 10 from Caitlin Bernardin, nine from Thomas and eight from Bria Green.
For the Bulldogs, Kimmy Gardiner, who shared last week's SEC Co-Freshman of the Week honors with Rivers, had a match-high 23 kills while hitting .429 against the Tide. Gardiner also added nine digs, four assisted blocks and three assists in the match. Taylor Scott finished the night with 15 kills and Roxanne McVey posted a match-high 21 digs.
Alabama dropped the first set 23-25 after hitting .257 while the Bulldogs hit .333 in the opening stanza. The Tide took its first lead of the set at 13-12 following a kill by Rivers. After UA led 14-13, MSU went on a 7-3 run to open a 20-17 lead. The Tide answered with a 3-1 run to get within a point (21-20), but could never even the score, before falling by two.
The Tide answered by winning the second set 25-19 after holding the Bulldogs to a .136 hitting mark. Bama jumped out to a 7-3 lead, before extending the advantage six at 14-8 following the ninth kill of the night by Rivers. MSU closed the deficit to three at 20-17, before the Tide closed the set with a 5-2 run to even the score at one set a piece.
Alabama got off to a slow start in the third and trailed the Bulldogs 9-6 following a kill by MSU's Scott. After the Scott kills, the Tide went on an 8-1 run to take a 14-10 advantage, before eventually taking a 2-1 lead in the match following the 25-16 victory in the third. Steiner, who came off the bench in the first set to replace Mattie Weldy on the left side, posted five of her 11 kills in the third set.
Alabama trailed 9-6 in the fourth set, before posting another rally to even the score at 11-11 following a kill by McQuaid. With the score 14-13 in favor of the Bulldogs, the Tide went on a 3-0 burst to hold a 16-14 lead. After an attacking error by Wilson made the score 19-18 in favor of the Tide, UA closed the set with a 6-3 run for a 25-21 victory.
Alabama returns to action on Tuesday night with a non-conference match against the UAB Blazers. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the Bartow Arena.
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