Aug. 23, 2012
Match Notes_Beanpot Classic
THIS WEEK IN ALABAMA VOLLEYBALL
The Alabama volleyball team (0-0/0-0 SEC) will open the 2012 season with three matches in the Beanpot Classic in Massachusetts. Alabama opens the season on Friday, Aug. 24, with a pair of matches in Worcester, Mass., first at Holy Cross, then against Northeastern. The match against Holy Cross will begin at 10 a.m. CST, followed by a neutral site match against Northeastern at 3 p.m. CST. Alabama closes the tournament with a Saturday afternoon match against Sacred Heart, which will be played in Boston, Mass., on the Northeastern campus. First serve for the UA versus Sacred Heart match is scheduled for 1 p.m. CST.
FOLLOW THE TIDE ONLINE
For this week’s road volleyball matches, fans can follow the action live online with a live audio broadcast on RollTide.com, for all three matches. There will also live video provided by the host schools for two of the three matches of the tournament. Friday’s match against Holy Cross, as well as Saturday’s match against Sacred Heart will have a live video feed. Links to the video feeds will be available through the volleyball schedule page on RollTide.com. Live stats will only be available for Saturday’s match against Sacred Heart, through GoNU.com or RollTide.com.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kayla Fitterer enters her senior season with 989 career kills and 689 digs, the most in either category by a player on this year’s squad. Fitterer has 25 double-doubles in kills and digs in her career, which ranks fourth among active players in the Southeastern Conference. Andrea McQuaid made a big impact in her first season with the Tide in 2011, turning in 15 double-doubles (three triple-doubles) as a sophomore. She was second in the SEC with 15 double-doubles and three triple doubles a year ago. McQuaid was second on the team with 239 kills, 679 attempts, 507 assists and 293 digs last season.
Kayla Fitterer CLOSING IN ON 1,000 CAREER KILLS
Senior outside hitter Kayla Fitterer enters her final season with 989 career kills in 81 matches played at the Capstone. Fitterer is 11 kills away from becoming the 13th player in school history to reach the 1,000-kill milestone. With 1,276 attempts in 2011, she posted the seventh most in a single season at UA. She now has 3,058 attempts for her career, which ranks eighth all-time at the Capstone. She needs 314 more attempts to pass Sue Farris (3,371) for seventh all-time.
SCOUTING THE HOLY CROSS CRUSADERS
The Holy Cross volleyball team enters the 2012 campaign as it returns 13 players from the 2011 season (10-21 overall, 6-8 Patriot League) that saw it tie for its most Patriot League wins in school history. Holy Cross also returns four seniors and two juniors who have led to the recent success of the team as the Crusaders’ 22 wins over the last two seasons are their most over a two-year period in over 10 years.
The Crusaders also have a talented group of seven sophomores and one freshman. Holy Cross will be looking to start this season where it left off last year as the Crusaders concluded 2011 with three straight Patriot League victories and just missed earning a bid to the Patriot League Tournament by finishing one match out of fourth place.
The match between Alabama and Holy Cross will mark the first ever meeting in women’s volleyball.
SCOUTING THE NORTHEASTERN HUSKIES
For the first time since joining the Colonial Athletic Association, the Northeastern volleyball team has been selected as the preseason favorite to capture the 2012 CAA volleyball title as voted on by the league’s head coaches. In its eighth season of competition in the CAA, Northeastern was tabbed to finish second in 2008 and third in both 2005 and 2010.
Last season, the Huskies posted a 21-6 (11-3 CAA) mark and a .778 winning percentage, making Northeastern’s best single-season winning clip since 1987. Northeastern’s 21 victories were the most since joining the CAA in 2005.
Head coach Ken Nichols enters his 13th season at Northeastern and has assembled a 222-145 (.605) overall record. Nichols returns a squad chock-full of talent, including five All-CAA student-athletes from 2011. Jillian Briner, the CAA Rookie of the Year and Natalia Skiba, the CAA Defensive Specialst of the Year, joins All-CAA First Team member Janelle Tucker and All-CAA Third Team netters Kelly Bacon and Nichole Kurz as the nucleus of the team. Skiba was a Second Team member and was part of the All-Rookie Team with Briner.
With a team consisting of only sophomores, juniors and seniors, NU welcomes two transfer students to round out the 14-player roster. Hanna Gibeau, the 2011 Northeast Conference Player of the Year, bolsters the Huskies’ lineup after two seasons at LIU Brooklyn. Ava Cramp, a 6’6 middle blocker, transfers to Northeastern with sophomore eligibility after a season at Pacific.
Friday’s meeting between Alabama and Northeastern will be the first meeting between the two schools.
SCOUTING THE SACRED HEART PIONEERS
The two-time defending Northeast Conference champion Sacred Heart women’s volleyball team was unanimously picked to finish on top once again in the 2012 NEC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Last season, the Pioneers finished 27-7 overall and 14-2 against conference opponents. After topping No. 1 LIU Brooklyn 3-1 to win the NEC Championship, SHU battled Stanford in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Despite falling 3-1, Sacred Heart made history becoming the first team in NEC and SHU history to win a set at the NCAA Tournament.
Head Coach Rob Machan boasts a strong list of returnees, including second team All-Conference middle blockers Johanna Ovsenek and Elise Sage. In her junior campaign, Ovsenek recorded 332 kills, 83 blocks and ranked seventh in the NEC in hitting percentage (.312). Sage, who was named to the NEC All-Tournament team, contributed 294 kills, 105 digs, 50 blocks and ranked fifth in the league hitting (.333). Sacred Heart also brings back Dianis Mercado, who tallied 349 kills and 372 digs in her sophomore season.
When Alabama and Sacred Heart meet on Saturday, Aug. 25, it will mark the first ever meeting between the two schools in volleyball.
LOOKING BACK AT LAST SEASON
In his first season as the head coach at Alabama, Ed Allen’s Crimson Tide volleyball team posted an 11-20 overall record while finishing Southeastern Conference play with a 4-16 mark. Alabama got off to a quick start, winning four of its first five matches, but ended the season on the losing end of nine of its last 10.
Outside hitter Kayla Fitterer led the team with 405 kills to finish third in the conference in kills, and her 4.01 kills per set, also third in the SEC, ranked 45th in the country. Fitterer posted 13 double-doubles – fourth most in the SEC – in kills and digs to bring her career total to 25.
Andrea McQuaid was one of three players to see action in all 113 sets. McQuaid led the team and was second in the SEC with 15 double-doubles and three triple doubles. She became the fourth player in school history to record a triple double and the first player to do so in kills, assists and digs. Additionally, McQuaid is the only player in program history to record multiple triple-doubles in a career.
The lone senior on the 2011 roster, Stephanie Riley, had a team-leading 686 assists to finish her career ranked sixth all-time at Alabama with 1,976 total assists.
• Senior outside hitter Kayla Fitterer and fifth-year senior Leigh Moyer are the two seniors on the 2012 Alabama women’s volleyball team.
• Alabama returns six letter winners from last season that totaled 544 sets played in 2011. UA enters the season with nine new players on the roster that includes three transfers and six freshmen.
• Fitterer returns with 989 career kills, leaving her 11 kills shy of becoming the 13th player in school history with 1,000 kills at Alabama.
• Last season Fitterer tallied the seventh most attempts in a single season at Alabama with 1,279, giving her 3,058 career attempts, which rank sixth most in school history.
• Fitterer finished her junior season with 13 double-doubles to rank fourth in the SEC. She enters her senior season with 25 career double-doubles, the fourth most by any active player in the SEC.
• Junior setter/outside hitter Andrea McQuaid returns for second season at Alabama, after leading the team with 15 double-doubles and three triple doubles. Both ranked second in the SEC in 2011.
• McQuaid became the fourth player in school history and first since 1994 to record a triple-double in a match, when she had 13 kills, 29 assists and 25 digs against SMU on Sept. 3, 2011. It was the first triple double for a UA player in kills, assists and digs.
• In 2011, McQuaid finished second on the team in total kills (239), second in assists (507) and second in total digs (293).
• Junior libero Cristina Arenas led the 2011 squad with 387 digs and finished ninth in the SEC with 3.52 digs per set, last season.
• Arenas was the starting libero for the final 24 matches of the 2011 season and recorded a career-high 28 digs against Ohio State on Sept. 10, her second match as the starting libero.
• Second-year head coach Ed Allen enters the season with a 505-203 (.713) record. Among active volleyball coaches at four-year schools, he ranks in the top 30 in career wins and in the top 20 for winning percentage.
TWITTER, FACEBOOK AND YOUTUBE
In addition to RollTide.com, Alabama volleyball can be followed on Twitter (@AlabamaVBall) and Facebook (facebook.com/AlabamaVBall). Additionally, video content will be available on the Alabama women’s volleyball YouTube channel (youtube.com/AlabamaVBall).
NEXT WEEK FOR THE TIDE
Next week, the Alabama volleyball team will open its home schedule with a Tuesday night match against Alabama A&M. The match between the Tide and the Bulldogs is slated for 7 p.m., from Foster Auditorium. UA then hits the road for three matches in the Elon Phoenix Classic on the weekend. Alabama will take on North Carolina Central on Aug. 31, at 3:30 p.m. CT, before battling Gardner-Webb and Elon on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT, respectively.