Volleyball Travels to North Carolina for Elon Phoenix Classic

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Freshman setter Sierra Wilson leads the SEC with 11.4 assists per set.
Freshman setter Sierra Wilson leads the SEC with 11.4 assists per set.

Aug. 30, 2012

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This Week In Alabama Volleyball
The Crimson Tide (3-1/0-0 SEC) will play four matches this week, wrapping up the week at the Elon Phoenix Classic. The Crimson Tide began the week with 3-0 victory over Alabama A&M on Tuesday night in the 2012 home opener for the Tide. In the Elon Phoenix Classic, UA will play matches against North Carolina Central, Gardner-Webb and Elon. All three matches of the tournament will be played on the Elon campus on Friday and Saturday. The Tide will play N.C. Central on Aug. 31, at 3:30 p.m. CT, before battling Gardner-Webb (9 a.m. CT) and Elon (6 p.m. CT) on Sept. 1.

Follow the Tide Online
For this week’s three road matches in the Elon Phoenix Classic, fans can follow the action live online with a live audio broadcast on RollTide.com. Live video and livestats will be provided for free by the Elon Media Relations Office for all matches of the tournament. The video and livestats links will be available through the volleyball schedule page on RollTide.com.

Players to Watch
Sierra Wilson got her Alabama career off to a good start as she opened the season as the team’s starting setter. Wilson did not disappoint in her debut weekend, as the Anaheim, Calif., native recorded 136 assists to average a conference-high 11.33 assists per set in the Beanpot Classic, and was named to the all-tournament team. After adding 35 assists against Alabama A&M, she has an SEC leading 11.40 assists per set average. Pricilla Duke-Ezeji led the Crimson Tide with 44 kills in the Beanpot Classic, and after posting a team-high eight kills against Alabama A&M, she is averaging 3.47 kills per set to lead the squad. Duke-Ezeji has been the go to player on the left side for Alabama, as the transfer from UCLA has 139 attempts in four matches to average 34.8 swings per match. She leads the team with 55.5 points through four matches.

Kayla Fitterer Reaches 1,000 Career Kills Milestone
Senior outside hitter Kayla Fitterer entered her final season with 989 career kills in 81 matches played at the Capstone. Fitterer had 10 kills in the season opener against Holy Cross and then became the 13th player in school history with 1,000 career kills with her first against Northeastern in the second match of the season. She reached the 1,000-kill mark in her 83rd career match at Alabama. With 35 kills this season, Fitterer now ranks 12th in school history with 1,024 career kills.

Scouting the North Carolina Central Eagles
North Carolina Central opened the season with five matches in the NCCU Invitational and posted a 1-4 record in the event. The Eagles’ only win of the event came in its final match when they defeated Hampton, 3-0. NCCU dropped matches to UNC Greensboro (3-1), Liberty (3-0), Bradley (3-1) and Winthrop (3-0) in the tournament.
NCCU enters the Elon Phoenix Classic averaging 11.8 kills per set while hitting .251 as a team. The leading hitter for the Eagles is Christine Anthony with 3.59 kills per set, with a .262 hitting percentage. Ashley McCarthy averages 2.29 kills per set and leads the team with a .329 hitting percentage. Melissa Rabell Pineiro leads the team with 9.0 assists per set and Marilyn Sherbondy has a team-best average of 1.65 digs per set.
Friday’s matchup between Alabama and N.C. Central will be the first ever meeting between the two schools.

Scouting the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs
Gardner-Webb enters the tournament with a 0-4 record, dropping three matches in the Active Ankle Challenge to Ball State (3-0), Illinois State (3-0) and VCU (3-1). Most recently, the Bulldogs suffered a 3-0 loss to Davidson on Tuesday night.
As a team, GWU is hitting just .061 for the season and averages 9.15 kills per set. Opponents are hitting .226 against the Bulldogs while averaging 11.92 kills per set. Carol Solano leads the team with 27 kills to average 2.08 per set, but is hitting just .081 for the season. Among the players with at-least 40 attempts, Tyler Cockrell leads the squad with a .123 hitting mark and averages 1.77 kills per set.
Saturday’s match up between Alabama and Gardner-Webb will be the first ever meeting between the two schools.

Scouting the Elon Phoenix
Elon enters the tournament with a 1-3 record following a 3-0 victory over North Carolina A&T on Wednesday night. The Phoenix opened the season with losses to Hampton (3-2), Bradley (3-0) and Liberty (3-0) in the NCCU Invitational.
As a team, Elon averages 11.2 kills per set with a .206 hitting percentage. The attack features five players that average at least 1.70 kills per set. Catherine Head leads the way with 2.18 kills per set, followed by Kris Harris’ 1.86 kills per set. Megan Graveley adds 1,77 kills per frame, and Ana Nicksic and Ali Deatsch contributes 1.78 and 1.71 kills per set as well. 
Saturday’s match up between Alabama and Elon will be the first ever meeting between the two schools.

Last Time Out
Alabama made quick work of the Alabama A&M Bulldogs in the 2012 home opener on Tuesday, posting a 3-0 (25-11, 25-11, and 25-12) victory over the in-state opponent.
Alabama put on a show for the 1,014 fans at Foster Auditorium, as 13 of the 15 players saw action in the match. The Tide collected 45 kills, while hitting at a .356 clip. On the defensive side, UA held the Bulldogs to a -.091 hitting percentage, as AAMU had just 14 kills, while committing 22 errors, as the Tide had a season-high 11 blocks.
For the third straight match, junior outside hitter Andrea McQuaid hit over .400, posting a .412 mark with seven kills on 17 attempts with no errors. Pricilla Duke-Ezeji paced the Tide with eight kills. From the middle blocker position, Alabama got a total of 18 combined kills, as Katherine White had seven, Kanesha Burch had six and Leigh Moyer added four.
Freshman setter Sierra Wilson played another solid match for Alabama, posting 35 assists to go along with a kill and five digs. Yukie Futami eclipsed the 20-dig mark for the third straight match, as she posted a game-high 23 digs.

Next Week for the Tide
Following the Elon Phoenix Classic, Alabama returns home to host the Hampton Inn Bama Bash on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 7-8. The Tide will play host to 10 matches in two days, as Alabama State, East Tennessee State, Lamar and Austin Peay come to Tuscaloosa. All five teams will play four matches in the event that will run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., both days.