Volleyball Begins Fall Practice Friday

Aug. 8, 2014

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TUSACALOOSA, Ala. -- Three weeks away from its season opener, Alabama Volleyball opened fall practice on Friday as the Crimson Tide will look to built on what was a historic 2013 season.

"It was a good opening practice," said fourth-year head coach Ed Allen. "We really are focusing on our  defense early. We had a couple of great defensive sessions incorporating some new concepts. Our goal is to be stronger defensively at the net and in the back row and we took some big steps today.

"I was impressed with the team mentality and our physical potential. We have a relatively  young team, but at the same time we're very talented and balanced since a lot of the young players have significant playing experience. I'm very pleased with our depth as well. We have 17 players so we're four-deep at nearly every position."

The Tide finished the 2013 season with a 24-10 record, the most wins for the program since 1995. Last season also marked the first NCAA Tournament appearance for Alabama since 2007.

Alabama returns all three of its AVCA Honorable Mention All-Americans from last season, as Krystal Rivers (RS So. - Birmingham, Ala.), Brittany Thomas (So. - Chandler, Ariz.) and Sierra Wilson (Jr. - Anaheim, Calif.) will help anchor an offense that ranked third in the SEC last season in hitting percentage (.254), assists per set (13.28) and kills per set (14.14). Eight newcomers will also join the Tide this season, including transfer Bruna Evangelista (Jr. - Caete, Brazil), who played the last two seasons at Blinn College and was recently named the National Junior College Athletic Association Female Student-Athlete of the Year for the 2013-14 season.

The Tide opens its season with four matches at the Marcia E. Hamilton Classic in St. Louis. Alabama opens against Northern Iowa (Noon CT) and Southeastern Missouri (5 p.m.) on Friday, Aug. 29 and finishes with Memphis (2 p.m.) and Saint Louis (7 p.m.) on Saturday, Aug. 30. Alabama's first home match at Foster Auditorium this season will be on Wednesday, Sept. 16 against UAB at 7 p.m. That following weekend, the Tide hosts the Crimson-White Tournament, welcoming Florida International, San Diego State and Clemson to Tuscaloosa starting on Friday, Sept. 19.

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