Saturday, September 14, 2002
» Box Score
LINCOLN, Neb. – A young and determined Alabama volleyball team stood toe-to-toe with No. 22 Santa Clara but in the end came up a little short as the Broncos earned a hard-fought 3-1 (30-24, 30-27, 26-30, 30-22) win over the Tide in the final match of the U.S. Bank/Arby’s Classic on Saturday night.
Alabama falls to 6-4 on the year dropping their fourth consecutive match while Santa Clara captured the runner-up trophy in the event improving to 8-1 on the season.
“We continue to come of age,” said UA mentor Judy Green. “Tonight we definitely played a better match. In fact this was our most complete match against at talented team. The experience we got this weekend will only benefit us. I’m proud of how we continue to play hard.”
The two squads rallied back and forth in the opening game with neither team holding more than a two-point margin for much of the contest. Santa Clara used a late surge to win the evenly contested frame, 30-24. Erin Heffner was the hitting star for the Tide in the first game pounding down seven kills in 14 attempts. SC benefited from four service aces and a .324 hitting performance in the opening stanza.
The Broncos broke open another sideout battle with a 7-0 run midway through the second game to take a 19-11 advantage. SC extended its margin to double figures but the Tide came rolling back on six service points by Kory Tull including a pair of aces. UA continued its comeback using three Erin Price aces to cut the Santa Clara lead to just two points. However the Tide came up just short as SC held on for the 30-27 win. The Crimson Tide fought off six game points before Santa Clara finally scored the winning point.
The Tide turned the table on the Broncos in game three using a 7-0 spurt on Tull’s serve to break open a tied game for a 16-9 advantage. Alabama held its margin for the rest of the stanza fending off a pair of late Santa Clara runs to earn the 30-26 victory. Heffner helped Bama secure the win recording the Tide’s final two points on kills.
Santa Clara led the whole way in the fourth game allowing Alabama to tie the score just three times before pulling away in the end behind a strong blocking performance at the net. The Tide again proved scrappy fighting off three match points before SC could close out the match with the 30-22 win.
Heffner paced a balanced Crimson Tide offense with 17 kills followed by Price with 16. Jennifer Bibber and Shelly Adamcik tallied eight kills each as sophomore setter Kenna Milner spread out her 48 assists. Price and Milner led the Bama defense with 14 digs apiece while Bibber notched four blocks to pace the UA frontline.
SC saw three players reach double figure kills led by Cassie Perret and Becky Biniek with 15 each.
Alabama returns home for its only home match in the next month as the Tide hosts Jacksonville State at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night in The CAVE. Fans are invited to come and meet many of the other Crimson Tide athletic teams who will be signing autographs following the match.
Alabama (6-4) 24 27 30 22
#22 Santa Clara (8-1) 30 30 26 30