STARKVILLE, Miss.- The University of Alabama tallied its third conference road victory tonight with a 30-27, 36-34, 30-22, victory over Mississippi State. With the win the Crimson Tide improves to 6-6 overall 3-0 in the SEC and the Bulldogs drop to 5-7 overall and 0-3 in the SEC.
The Tide hit a season high .367 tonight with three players hitting above .500. Sophomore Liz Salstrand led all players for the second consecutive match, hitting .545 and contributing seven kills. Senior Crystal Hudson tallied a match high 18 kills and Bridget Fuentez led the team with 11 digs.
“I think tonight was our best offensive team performance of the season,: said Alabama head coach Judy Green. “Our ability to sideout was very consistent and when you are consistent you win matches.”
Alabama took an early four point lead in game one forcing Mississippi State to use its first timeout of the match. The Tide held on to the lead for the majority of the match, however, the Bulldogs managed to tie the score at 25-25 after a run of tough serves by Mississippi State’s Ava Kriegel. Alabama regained the lead and a Bulldog serving error ended game one.
Alabama outlasted Mississippi State in a marathon game two that saw six ties and four lead changes. The Tide overcame a nine point deficit, with the help of a five point serving run by sophomore Jennifer Weber, to tie the game at 29-29.
Alabama saw its first lead of the game at 30-29 on a Fuentez kill from the outside. The Bulldogs scored another point off a kill from the setter to tie the game for the second time at 30-30. Mississippi State tallied a kill to pull ahead followed by a hitting error to knot the game for the third time.
The Bulldogs notched back to back kills to regain its fourth lead but Salstrand retaliated with her second kill of the game. Alabama followed up the kill with a serving error before Salstrand earned her third kill and tied the game for the fifth time. The Tide remained poised as the Bulldogs racked up back-to-back errors to give Alabama a 2-0 lead.
Alabama outplayed the Bulldogs in game three as they rolled to a 30-22 victory. The Bulldogs pulled to within two points of the Tide but Alabama stopped the Bulldog run and built a six point lead. Redshirt sophomore Brooks Webster tallied a service ace to give the Tide game point and Hudson ended the match with a smash from the middle.
“The comeback in game two was huge,” said Green. “During that run you could see the confidence our team has built since the last time we were in that situation in our home tournament. Our team is improving everyday in practice and I think it showed again tonight. We are excited to be coming back home to play on Sunday.”
Alabama returns to the CAVE for its first home conference match Sunday, September 23 to face Arkansas at 1:30 p.m. Admission for the general public is $3 and children and students get in free.
The volleyball team will be giving out mini volleyballs to the first 500 fans and patrons with a football ticket will get into the event free.