Aug 29, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama (0-0/0-0 SEC) opens the season on the road on Friday, Aug. 30, when the team travels to the West Point, N.Y., to compete in the Black Knights Invitational hosted by Army. The Tide opens the tournament against Seton Hall on Friday, with first serve scheduled for 11 a.m. CT, from the Gillis Field House. The Crimson Tide will play a pair of matches on Saturday, Aug. 31, when they battle Washington State at 11 a.m. CT, and Army at 6 p.m. CT.
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Alabama has 12 players on the 2013 roster, including two seniors, two juniors, five sophomores and a trio of freshmen.
Head coach Ed Allen returns for his third season with the Crimson Tide, and 22nd overall as a head coach. Allen has a 29-34 record at The Capstone, bringing his career record to 523-217 (,707).
The Tide returns nine players from last year's 18-14 squad, which includes senior setter/outside hitter Andrea McQuaid and senior defensive specialist Kelsey Melito.
Sophomore setter Sierra Wilson returns for her second season at the Capstone, after recording 1,293 assists during her freshman campaign. Wilson posted the 10th most assists in an Alabama single season and finished the 2013 season 46th in the country and second in the Southeastern Conference with 10.87 assists per set.
Sophomore defensive specialist Kryssi Daniels led the SEC with 51 aces in 2013 and finished 17th in the country with 0.41 aces per set.
Sophomore outside hitter Laura Steiner is the Tide's returning kills leader after posting 306 as a true freshman in 2013. She finished 13th in the SEC with 3.12 kills per set last season.
Katherine White collected a team-leading 83 total blocks in 2013, and was second on the club with 0.73 blocks per set. White has accumulated 142 total blocks in her first two seasons with the Tide.
McQuaid was an all-around player for the Tide in 2013 when she averaged 2.05 kills, 1.63 digs and 0.35 blocks per set as a junior.
Redshirt freshman Krystal Rivers will look to contribute at middle blocker this season after sitting out the 2013 campaign.
Three newcomers for the Tide include libero Caitlin Bernardin, a junior who played at Bakersfield College last season, and true freshmen in utility player Bria Green (Carson, Calif.) and outside hitter Brittany Thomas (Chandler, Ariz.)
Seton Hall is coming off a 2012 season that saw the Pirates post an 18-10 overall record and a 6-9 mark in the Big East Conference. The Pirates return four starters from last year's team, plus their libero. Seton Hall returns its leading hitters in the Manthorpe sisters, Shelbey and Stacey, who return as juniors after earning All-Big East Conference recognition last season. In addition to the Manthorpe sisters, libero Alyssa Warren was named the 2012 Big East Libero of the Year.
Washington State posted a 13-19 record in 2012, while recording a 3-17 mark in the Pac-12 Conference. The Cougars return nine letterwinners from 2012 including five starters. Junior outside hitter Jaicee Harris tallied a team-high 442 kills in 2012 to average 3.91 kills per set as a sophomore. Senior setter Camryn Irwin dished out 1,140 assists last season, averaging 10.18 assists per set. She also added 259 digs (2.31 dps) and 72 total blocks. As a freshman in 2012, libero Kate Sommer led the Cougars with 459 digs to average 4.06 digs per set in her first year with the team.
The Army Black Knights finished the 2012 campaign with a 20-9 record and an 11-3 mark in the Patriot League, which tied for second place in the conference. The Black Knights return 15 letterwinners from last year's 20-win squad, including four starters and their libero. Junior setter Mary Vaccaro was named the Patriot League Setter of the Year as well as all-league first team honors after dishing out 974 assists as a sophomore. Margaux Jarka and D.J. Phee earned second team All-Patriot League honors last season. Phee led the 2012 team with 577 digs, averaging 5.60 digs per set to finish 18th in the country. Jarka averaged 2.78 kills per set and was third on the team with 254 digs (2.47 dps) in 2012.
Alabama enters the 2013 season with a 21-11 record in the season opening match. With a 3-0 win over Holy Cross in the Beanpot Classic in 2012, the Crimson Tide won back-to-back season opening matches for the first time since the 2001 and 2002 seasons.
Next week Alabama will travel to Miami, Fla., to compete in the Florida International Tournament. The Tide will take on Houston Baptist, FIU and UNC-Wilmington in the two-day tournament at U.S. Century Bank Arena.
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