Nov. 24, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - On Senior Day at Foster Auditorium, Alabama snapped a 10-match losing streak to Tennessee with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-23) Southeastern Conference win over the Lady Vols on Sunday.
On Senior Day it was a freshman that stood out for the Crimson Tide (23-8, 10-6 SEC), as Brittany Thomas posted a match-high 18 kills with a .452 hitting percentage. For Thomas, the 18 kills marked the most she's had in a three-set match, while the .452 hitting percentage was the best of the season for the true freshman. Thomas also added eight digs, an ace and an assisted block.
The win was the first for the Tide over the Lady Vols (9-22, 1-16 SEC) since Oct. 21, 2007, when Alabama posted a 3-0 victory in Tuscaloosa. The win was also the 23rd of the season for the Tide, matching the 2005 season total. Since re-establishing the program in 1989, the most wins in a season for any Alabama volleyball team is 24, which was done in 1995.
Before the start of the match, Alabama recognized current seniors Andrea McQuaid and Kelsey Melito in a pregame ceremony. The Tide also honored former players Cristina Arenas and Brianne Vande Griend, who saw their careers shortened due to injuries, and student managers Tristan Johnson and John Calhoun.
McQuaid had another typical match, finishing the day with five kills, a .455 hitting percentage and four digs. Sophomore outside hitter Mattie Weldy finished the match with nine kills, while Katherine White had six kills and a .500 (6-1/10) hitting percentage, to go along with a solo and two assisted blocks.
Kryssi Daniels paced Alabama with 11 digs to go along with four assists and a pair of aces, not bigger than the one to give Alabama match point in the third set. Sierra Wilson finished the day with 38 assists, nine digs and two assisted blocks and Bria Green had nine digs and two kills.
The only player for Tennessee to reach double figures in kills was Whitney Heeres with 10. Jamie Lea added nine kills, Ashley Mariani had eight and Shealyn Kolosky had seven. Ellen Mullins added a match-high 13 digs.
With the score tied 6-6 in the first, Alabama went on a 6-1 run to take a commanding 12-7 lead in the opening set. The Tide would extend their lead to 18-10, before Tennessee went on a 5-1 run to close the deficit to four points (19-15). After an Alabama timeout, the Tide closed the set with a 7-2 run to take a quick lead in the match. Alabama's Thomas opened the match with seven kills and a .700 (7-0/10) hitting percentage in the first set.
Bama fell behind 9-6 to open the second set before posting a 4-0 run to take a 10-9 lead in the second. Tennessee responded with a 6-2 run to open a 15-12 lead, before Bama responded with a 9-3 run for a 21-18 advantage. Bama got their final point of the set on the 10th kill of the match by Thomas.
In order to close out the Lady Vols in straight sets, Alabama needed to come-from-behind late in the third set. Trailing 20-23, Alabama got back-to-back kills from Thomas to get within one, 23-22. After a Tennessee timeout, a hitting error by UT's Raina Hembry evened the score at 23-23, and then Daniels served an ace to give the Tide match-point. A hitting error by Tennessee's Whitney Heeres capped the 5-0 Alabama run to end the match.
Alabama returns to action on Wednesday, Nov. 27, when it travels to Starkville, Miss., to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs. First serve for the match from the Newell-Grissom Building is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.
Get all the latest information on the team by following AlabamaVBall on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.