THIS WEEK IN ALABAMA VOLLEYBALL
This week the Alabama Crimson Tide (10-1/0-0 SEC) will play its final non-conference match of the 2012 season, when the Samford Bulldogs (5-5/0-0 SoCon) come to Tuscaloosa on Tuesday night. The match between Alabama and Samford is slated to begin at 7 p.m., from Foster Auditorium.
FOLLOW THE TIDE ONLINE
For Tuesday’s match against Samford, livestats will be available through RollTide.com. There will also be live video webcast available through the TideTV All Access plan on RollTide.com. The webcast will also include a live audio broadcast with WVUA students Matt Moore and Grace Sheehan calling the action.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
After winning the championship at the Hampton Inn Bama Bash, Alabama had three players earn all-tournament honors. Freshman outside hitter Laura Steiner was named the Most Valuable Player and Sierra Wilson and Katherine White were selected to the all-tournament team.
Laura Steiner had 34 kills to average 3.40 kills per set in the tournament and posted a .358 hitting percentage in the four matches. She made her first career start against Lamar and posted 10 kills with a .529 hitting percentage. She played three of the four sets against Austin Peay, finishing the match with 11 kills, with eight coming in the fourth and final set. She closed out the tournament with 12 kills against East Tennessee State. Has had double digits in kills in three of the last four matches and is averaging 2.95 kills per set with a .294 hitting percentage for the season.
Katherine White is coming off one of her best weekends in a Crimson Tide uniform. In four matches of the Hampton Inn Bama Bash, White posted a team-best .467 hitting percentage and averaged 1.92 kills per set from the middle blocker position. In a four-set win over Austin Peay, White had a career-high 13 kills and paced the team with a career-best .706 hitting percentage, making just one error on a career-high 17 attempts.
Sierra Wilson had 157 total assists in the tournament to average 12.08 for the Tide last week. Wilson continues to excel as a freshman at the setter position, and currently leads the Southeastern Conference with 11.73 assists per set.
SCOUTING THE SAMFORD BULLDOGS
The Samford Bulldogs will make the trip to Tuscaloosa with a 5-5 record, following four wins in their last four matches. The Bulldogs are coming off three wins in the Georgia State Invitational where they defeated Georgia State (3-0), South Alabama (3-1) and Mercer (3-0). As a team, Samford averages 13.8 kills, 14.2 digs, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 aces per set.
Sophomore outside hitter Michaela Ressor leads the team with 124 kills to average 3.3 kills per set. Senior hitter Elizabeth Neisler adds 2.9 kills per frame and senior middle Lauren Hutchinson pitches in with 2.6 kills per set with a .330 hitting percentage. Katie Murphy leads the team with a .348 hitting percentage while adding 2.2 kills per set from the middle blocker position. Senior setter Casey Garvey has 417 of the teams 481 assists this season to average 11.3 assists per set. From the back row, senior libero Alexis Bauer leads the team with 4.6 digs per set and Chelsi Carter adds 2.3 digs per set while leading the team with 11 aces in 2012.
Following a five-set loss to Samford last season in Birmingham, the Crimson Tide holds a 17-1 advantage in the series over the Bulldogs. When the two teams meet on Tuesday, it will mark the 19th meeting all-time, but just the third in the last 11 years. In matches played in Tuscaloosa, Alabama has a 9-0 record against the Bulldogs, posting three-set wins in all nine matches.
LOOKING BACK AT LAST WEEK
Alabama played four matches in the Hampton Inn Bama Bash and posted wins over Lamar (3-0), Austin Peay (3-1), Alabama State (3-0) and East Tennessee State (3-0). As a team, Alabama averaged 14.5 kills per set while hitting .273 for the tournament. Defensively, Alabama averaged 16.3 digs and 1.2 blocks per set, and from the service line, the Tide had 17 aces to average 4.2 aces per match. The 2012 Hampton Inn Bama Bash marked the ninth time the Crimson Tide hosted the tournament, as Alabama improved to 21-7 all-time in the event. UA has now won its last 10 matches in the tournament.
ALABAMA QUICK HITTERS
Alabama posted a perfect 4-0 record last week after winning all four matches of the Hampton Inn Bama Bash. Following the four tournament wins, Alabama is now 10-1 on the season and has won its last nine matches. The nine-match win streak is the longest since the 2005 team won 13 straight. The 10-1 start is also the best start since the 2005 team opened the year 13-1. The Crimson Tide currently ranks second in the SEC with a .134 opponent hitting percentage and 1.54 aces per set. The Tide’s 57 aces on the year are the most in the conference.
• Kayla Fitterer led the Tide with 3.57 kills per set as she played in two matches of the Hampton Inn Bama Bash.
• Fitterer is second on the team with 3.30 kills per set and is hitting .221 for the season.
• Pricilla Duke-Ezeji leads the team, and ranks seventh in the SEC, with 3.72 kills per set, and is hitting .243 for the year.
• Laura Steiner ranks third on the team with 2.95 kills per set and is hitting .294 for the year.
• Steiner was named the Hampton Inn Bama Bash MVP, after averaging 3.4 kills per set with a .358 hitting percentage in the tournament.
• Steiner had three matches with double-digit in kills in the tournament and has reached double-digits in kills in five matches this season, including four of the last five.
• Andrea McQuaid continues to play well, as she is second on the team with 108 total kills.
• McQuaid averages 2.92 kills per set and has a .314 hitting percentage for the year.
• McQuaid also averages 2.41 digs, 0.51 blocks and 0.27 aces per set.
• Katherine White was named to the Hampton Inn Bama Bash All-Tournament team after hitting a team-best .467 in the tournament.
• White averaged 1.92 kills per set in the tournament to go along with a team-high seven total blocks.
• This season, White leads the team with a .377 hitting percentage and is averaging 1.49 kills per set.
• White’s team-leading 32 total blocks (0.86 bps) are tied for ninth in the SEC.
• Freshman setter Sierra Wilson once again leads the SEC with 11.73 assists per set.
• After averaging 12.08 per set in the Hampton Inn Bama Bash, Wilson earned all-tournament honors for the third time this season.
• Wilson is second on the team with 14 aces (3rd in the SEC) and her 0.38 aces per set rank fifth in the conference.
• Kryssi Daniels has 21 aces this season for a 0.57 aces per set average to lead the SEC in both categories.
• Daniels is averaging 1.9 aces per match in 2012.
• Cristina Arenas averaged 4.92 digs per set in the Hampton Inn Bama Bash, after starting all four matches of the tournament.
• Arenas had a season-high 27 digs against Austin Peay and is now averaging 3.14 digs per set for the season.
NEXT FOR THE TIDE
Following the final non-conference match of the season for the Crimson Tide on Tuesday against Samford, Alabama will open Southeastern Conference play with home matches against LSU and Tennessee this weekend. UA opens conference play on Friday night against LSU, with a 7 p.m., match at Foster Auditorium. The week wraps up with a 1:30 p.m., match on Sunday against the No. 16 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols from Foster. Like Alabama Volleyball on Facebook follow it on Twitter @AlabamaVball.