Sept. 13, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1/0-0 SEC) will open Southeastern Conference play at home this weekend with matches against LSU and No. 17 Tennessee. The Tide begins SEC play at 7 p.m., on Friday night against the Tigers at Foster Auditorium. The weekend wraps up with a Sunday afternoon match against the Lady Vols, with first serve scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
FOLLOW THE TIDE ONLINE
For both matches against LSU and Tennessee this weekend, 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.
As the Crimson Tide open their SEC home schedule against the LSU on Friday, the first 200 UA students in attendance will receive a free Crimson Tide Volleyball T-Shirt and the first 200 fans in attendance will receive a free hot Chick-Fil-A sandwich from the Chick-Fil-A in Northport. Sunday's matchup between the Tide and Lady Vols will include postgame autographs with the players and serving lines for kids 12 and younger
PLAYERS TO WATCH
As a freshman, Sierra Wilson is one of three players to start every match and one of five players to play in every set this season. Wilson averages 11.66 assists per set to lead the SEC, while ranking 14th in the country.
Freshman outside hitter Laura Steiner is averaging 3.04 kills per set for the season, and in the last five matches where she's been in the starting lineup, Steiner's averaging 3.43 kills per set with a .279 hitting percentage.
Freshman defensive specialist Kryssi Daniels has been in the starting lineup 11 times and currently leads the SEC with 23 aces and her conference-best 0.57 aces per set rank 12th in the country.
SCOUTING THE LSU TIGERS
The LSU Tigers open SEC play with a 4-5 overall record and are coming off back-to-back wins over Middle Tennessee State (3-0) and Western Michigan (3-1). The Tigers are currently 13th in the SEC with a .160 hitting percentage, while ranking 12th in the conference with 12.18 kills per set. LSU is also 13th in the SEC with an opponent's hitting percentage of .214.
The offensive leader for the Tigers is Desiree Elliott, who averages 3.46 kills per set to rank eighth in the SEC. Madie Jones and Cati Leak add 3.07 and 2.29 kills per set respectively. Malorie Pardo has a team-high 10.11 assists per set, while Meghan Mannari leads the squad with 4.18 digs per set, good for seventh in the conference.
Friday's match between Alabama and LSU will mark the 55th match all-time, as the Tigers lead the series 32-22. After winning both matches last season, LSU has won the last 11 meetings. The last Alabama win came on Oct. 8, 2006, when the Tide defeated No. 10 LSU 3-1 in Tuscaloosa. Alabama is 14-13 when the teams have played in Tuscaloosa. Head coach Ed Allen is 1-2 all-time versus the Tigers. His 2010 team defeated LSU, 3-0, in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
SCOUTING THE TENNESSEE LADY VOLS
Following a five-set loss to Missouri on Wednesday night to open SEC play, the No. 17 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols come to Tuscaloosa with a 7-3 overall record. The loss to Missouri snapped a four-match winning streak for Tennessee. In the SEC, the Lady Vols are fifth with a .257 hitting percentage, fourth in kills (14.38 kps) and rank third in blocks (2.58 bps).
The top player for Tennessee is outside hitter Kelsey Robinson, who leads the SEC with 4.95 kills per set, while hitting .251. Tiffany Barker and Leslie Cikra add just over three kills per set each. Setter Mary Pollmiller is third in the SEC with 10.9 assists per set. Defensively, Ellen Mullins leads the team with 3.75 digs per set, but Robinson adds 3.73 per frame, as she plays all six rotations. UT has three players that average nearly one block per set.
Tennessee leads the all-time series 31-11 and has won the last eight matches overall. The last UA win came in 2007, when the Tide defeated the Lady Vols 3-0 in Tuscaloosa. Alabama is 6-12 when playing Tennessee in Tuscaloosa. Ed Allen is 0-2 all-time versus Tennessee, after losing both matches a year ago.
NEXT FOR THE TIDE
Next week Alabama will continue Southeastern Conference play with two road matches at Georgia and Auburn. The Tide opens the week on Friday, Sept. 21, in Athens, Ga., for a 6 p.m. CT match against the Bulldogs at the Ramsey Student Center. The week wraps up with a Sunday afternoon match against rival Auburn, as the teams will square off for a 1:30 p.m., match at the Auburn Arena.
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