Alabama Volleyball Weekly Match Notes: Week Three

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Shelly Adamcik



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TIDE VISITS NEBRASKA TO PLAY IN CHALLENGING US BANK/ARBY’S CLASSIC

The Alabama volleyball returns to the road this weekend as the Tide participates in the US Bank/Arby’s Classic hosted by the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb. The tourney field marks a step up in competition level as two of the three other teams are ranked in the Top 25 (No. 2 Nebraska, No. 22 Santa Clara) along with perennial Big Ten power Michigan. The tournament schedule...
 
Friday (Sept. 13)
5:00 pm Alabama vs Michigan
7:00 pm Santa Clara vs Nebraska
 
Saturday (Sept. 14)
10:00 am Alabama vs Nebraska
10:00 am Michigan vs Santa Clara
5:00 pm Michigan vs Nebraska
7:00 pm Alabama vs Santa Clara
 
A BIG RED HOMECOMING

The Tide’s visit to Nebraska will be a sort of homecoming for senior setter Bridget Studnicka, a native of Clay Center. A lifetime support of the Cornhuskers, she was a regular participant in Big Red volleyball camps. This weekend she will have the chance to play in front of over 50 friends and family members.

ACES FLYING HIGH FOR BAMA

Prior to the season, Coach Green thought that the Tide’s aggressive serving could be a weapon for the team. After the opening matches, she knows it can be as Alabama has notched double-digit aces in 6 of the first 7 matches. The Tide extended its string to six matches before seeing the string halted with just five aces versus Missouri. Alabama served up a season-best 18 points against Illinois State, marking the most since a 19-ace performance versus Mississippi State on Nov. 23, 1990. Last season, UA was one of the SEC’s top servers but never tallied more than back-to-back double-digit performances. In fact, the Tide had only nine matches with 10+ aces for the entire year.
 
UA REACHES CHAMPIONSHIP OF CRIMSON TIDE INVITATIONAL

Alabama looked ready to make it two straight tournament crowns but a talented Missouri squad stood in the way handing the Tide its first loss of the year in the championship match. Despite Bama’s disappointing first loss, several players had outstanding weekend performances including all-tournament selections Erin Heffner and Kenna Milner. For Heffner it was her second consecutive all-tournament accolade.

SCOUTING REPORT

Michigan... The Wolverines, traditionally one of the Big Ten’s top teams, have opened the year with a 4-1 mark following a 3-0 win over Bowling Green on Tuesday night.  UM’s only loss of the year came at No. 14 Pepperdine.

Nebraska... A perennial national championship contender, the Cornhuskers are 4-1 this season and ranked No. 4 in the nation. UN lost to No. 3 Southern Cal last week but rebounded with wins over No. 14 Pepperdine and No. 11 Arizona.

Santa Clara... Climbing up to No. 22 in this week’s national rankings, the Broncos are a perfect 6-0 this year with a pair of tournament titles to their credit. SCU has only lost one game this season (30-28) to Eastern Illinois.
 
TIDE VERSUS THE FIELD

Alabama owns an 0-2 all-time mark against the rest of the teams in the US Bank/Arby’s Classic field. The Tide dropped a 2-0 decision to Nebraska in 1979 and suffered a 3-1 loss vs Michigan in 1981. Bama and Santa Clara have never met in volleyball action.
 
CHASIN’ THE BIG 500

With the recent success of the Crimson Tide, the team and its coach are both keeping an eye ahead on a fast-approaching mileston. With 494 all-time wins, Alabama needs just 6 victories to get the 500th in program history.  In addition, head coach Judy Green (who began her coaching career with a successful stint at Montevallo) is only 9 “Ws” from earning her 500th career win. (see charts)
 
2002 SLATE OFFERS UP CHALLENGES

Of the 26 opponents on the Tide’s schedule this season... 16 finished the 2001 campaign with winning records including 8 with over 20 victories ...Five teams won conference titles. Eight teams on the UA ledger earned invitations to the NCAA Tournament.
 
BAMA PERFECT 10 IN-STATE

With its Sept. 3 win at UAB, Alabama has now posted 10 straight wins over in-state opponents. UA has not lost to an in-state squad since a 3-2 decision to Auburn in 1999. Bama’s last loss to an in-state team other than AU was to UAB in 1994.

CRIMSON TIDE OPENS YEAR WITH TITLE

For the second consecutive season the Tide volleyball team posted an undefeated record en route to earning the tournament title in their season debut event. Alabama posted 3-1 victories over Marshall, Florida State and Illinois State last weekend to win the Barker GMC Classic crown. The championship marked the 22nd in program history and was the third for the Tide in Coach Judy Green’s tenure.
 
“BOMB SQUAD” EARNS TOURNEY HONORS

Alabama got a balanced performance from its entire lineup at the Barker GMC but three players garnered special attention earning all-tournament honors. Sophomore Erin Heffner led the way being named the MVP of the event. Juniors Erin Price and Jennifer Bibber were also rewarded for their stellar play.  UA Coach Judy Green has dubbed her outside hitter corps the “Bomb Squad” because of the powerful kills the group records.
 
HOME SWEET HOME

For the past two seasons, Alabama had enjoyed a huge home court advantage playing in the “CAVE” (Coleman Auxiliary Volleyball Extension). The Tide is 2-1 this season at home, improving to 19-6 in the venues three seasons as the home of Crimson Tide Volleyball. The fans have also come out in support of UA since the move with Bama posting its second highest season attendance average a year ago.
 
UA LOOKS FOR 4TH STRAIGHT WINNING SEASON

With three consecutive winning seasons the Crimson Tide volleyball program is already in the midst of a historic run since it is the first time in modern volleyball history (since 1989 reinstatement of the sport at UA). What’s next? Alabama would like to make it four in a row and also post the team’s third straight 20+ win season. The program’s first ever NCAA Tournament invitation is also high on the players and coaches goal list.
 
“CAVE” GETS UPGRADES WITH MORE TO COME

Bama’s volleyball home — The CAVE — recently got some a much deserved upgrade as a new floor design was painted on the competition playing surface. A wider crimson border and an elephant head on each end were added to give the the floor at more “Alabama” flavor. Other additions include hanging action photos of the Tide seniors and juniors along with a gigantic Bama “A” logo greeting fans as they enter the gym. New volleyball specific scoreboards have also been installed. In addition to these upgrades, more amenities are planned for next summer when two sets of 500 chairback permanent, retractable bleachers will be installed on each side of the court giving Alabama a truly volleyball specific playing arena.
 
CUSIMANO TO MISS ANOTHER SEASON

Redshirt freshman, Jennifer Cusimano, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during the first match last season reinjured her knee during some preseason training and will miss the upcoming season following a second surgery.
 
EXTRA, EXTRA...

• Senior setter Bridget Studnicka and sophomore setter Kenna Milner were named the Crimson Tide team captains for this season.
 
• When the Tide played West Virginia (Sept. 6) it was a family reunion for Bridget Studnicka and her younger sister Brandice, a setter for the Mountaineers. Close to 30 of the sister’s family members made the drive from Nebraska to see the match-up all dressed in matching T-shirts sporting both Bridget’s #18 and Brandice’s #23.
 
• Freshman Kelley Potter made her collegiate debut in the season opener as the first UA player to play the newly created “Libero” position.
 
• Freshman walk-on Mary Beth Moore (a native of Double Springs, Ala.) took the first plane ride of her life when UA boarded a Northwest flight headed for Detroit on Aug. 29.
 
• Following their tourney victory at Illinois State, the players reaped a little more attention... the team’s flight was less than full and the flight crew invited the “Champs” to move up and enjoy the comforts of the empty first-class section.
 
• 5-10 sophomore Kory Tull made her first career start for the Tide against Marshall... as a middle blocker. Tull was expected to challenge for the libero role but with the preseason loss of Jennifer Cusimano and the slow healing of senior Shelly Adamcik’s foot, the coaches decided to give Tull a look and she made the most of her chance.
 
• Junior college transfer Denιe Ezerins saw her first playing time of the year in Bama’s victory over in-state foe UAB.
 
• Milestone Watches — Erin Heffner needs just 6 kills to reach 500 in her career... Erin Price tallied her 600th career kill versus Missouri