Volleyball Returns Home to Host Mississippi and Texas A&M

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Sierra Wilson is one of three players on the team to play in every set this season.
Sierra Wilson is one of three players on the team to play in every set this season.

Sept. 27, 2012

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Following the two road SEC matches last week, Alabama (12-4, 1-3 SEC) returns to Tuscaloosa for a pair of conference matches this week. The Crimson Tide will host Mississippi on Friday, Sept. 28, with first serve slated for 7 p.m. CT. On Sunday, Alabama will get its first look at new SEC member Texas A&M, when the teams square off at 1:30 p.m. CT from Foster Auditorium.

Follow the Tide Online
For the matches against Mississippi and Texas A&M, fans can follow all the action on RollTide.com. There will be a live webcast that includes both audio and video available on TideTV through the subscription package. Livestats will also be provided for free for both matches. The Sunday match against Texas A&M will also be available live on WVUA-TV with Ray Richardson calling the action.

Weekend Promotions
As the Crimson Tide host SEC rival Mississippi on Friday, the first 200 children, 12 and younger, in attendance will receive a voucher for a free hot dog and drink from the concession stand. Sunday's matchup between the Tide and Texas A&M will include postgame autographs with the players. For both Friday and Sunday, fans who bring in their Mississippi football ticket will receive free admission to the matches.

Players to Watch
Kayla Fitterer is finding her stride as the Tide enters the third week of SEC play. Fitterer leads Alabama with 158 kills this season while hitting .264. Fitterer, who averages a team-high 3.67 kills per set, is averaging 4.06 kills per set in conference play with a .293 hitting percentage in four conference matches. Sierra Wilson, who is second in the SEC with 11.05 assists per set, has started all 16 matches and played all 57 sets for the Tide this season. She also averages 2.04 digs and 0.42 blocks per set while posting 38 kills on the year from the setter position. 

Scouting the Mississippi Rebels
The Mississippi Rebels enter Friday’s match with a 7-5 overall record, following a 1-2 start to SEC play. In their only match of last week, the Rebels posted a 3-1 win over Mississippi State for its first conference victory. Mississippi is 11th in the SEC with 13.13 kills per set and a .219 team hitting percentage.
Leading the Rebels offense this season is Kara Morgan, who averages 3.27 kills per set with a .259 hitting percentage. Allegra Wells averages 2.78 kills per set and is the only other player on the roster averaging over two kills per set for Mississippi. Amanda Philpot has a team-high 9.53 assists per set and is third on the squad with 1.91 kills per frame. Ashley Veach is second in the SEC with 5.11 digs per frame and Nakeyta Clair leads the team with 0.93 blocks per set.
Friday’s match will mark the 60th meeting all-time in the series. Alabama holds a 41-18 advantage overall after the teams split the season series last year. UA is 21-4 all-time at home against Mississippi after defeating the Rebels, 3-1, in Tuscaloosa last season.

Scouting the Texas A&M Aggies
The Aggies enter this week with a 10-2 overall record after a 2-1 start to SEC play. Texas A&M lost in five sets to Kentucky on Sunday for its first conference loss. The Aggies are receiving 15 votes in this week’s AVCA Coaches Poll. The Aggies lead the SEC with 13.46 kills pet and are eighth in the conference with a .246 hitting percentage. TAMU is also holding opponents to a SEC-best .149 hitting percentage.
Alisia Kastomo leads the squad with 3.49 kills per set, which is ninth in the SEC. Tori Mellinger adds 3.03 kills per pet and Lindsey Miller chips in with 2.58. Allie Sawatzky had a team-high 9.46 assists per frame and Megan Pendergast’s 3.75 digs per set leads the squad. Miller leads the team with 1.19 blocks per set, which is third best in the SEC.
With Alabama and Texas A&M meeting on Sunday, it will mark just the third meeting all-time and first for the teams in Tuscaloosa. The match will also be the first since 1996, when Texas A&M defeated the Tide, 3-0, in College Station, Texas. In the only other meeting, TAMU posted a 3-1 win over UA in the Southwest Texas State Tournament in San Marcos, Texas, on Sept. 24, 1993.

Looking Back at Last Week
In its first two SEC road matches of the season, Alabama suffered back-to-back losses to Georgia (3-2) and Auburn (3-1) last week. With the Friday night five-set loss to the Bulldogs, it marked the first time this season UA suffered back-to-back losses. It was also the second time this season the Tide dropped a five-set match. The four-set loss to Auburn marked the third straight loss for Alabama, and was the sixth straight defeat to the Tigers. Alabama was paced by Kayla Fitterer’s 3.56 kills per set after she recorded a season-high 23 kills against Georgia. Setter Sierra Wilson averaged 9.11 assists and 2.67 digs per set while posting eight kills and a .353 hitting percentage in the two matches. 

Alabama Quick Hitters
Alabama leads the SEC with 80 aces this season, but is second in the conference (Florida, 1.63 aps) and 75th in the country with 1.40 aces per set. Alabama also ranks 41st in the country with a .254 hitting percentage, which is sixth best in the SEC. Alabama’s 12.40 assists per set, which is eighth in the conference, ranks 95th nationally. UA is fourth in the SEC with a .169 opponent’s hitting percentage.

Player Notes
Kayla Fitterer notched a season-high 23 kills against Georgia. Fitterer leads the team and ranks seventh in the SEC with 3.67 kills per set. During SEC play, she averages 4.06 kills per set with a .293 hitting percentage. The 4.06 kills per set during conference play ranks fifth in the conference.
Sierra Wilson currently ranks second in the SEC with 11.05 assists per set, which is 39th overall nationally.
Kryssi Daniels leads the SEC with 30 aces and her 0.53 aces per set rank 12th in the country.
• Freshman Laura Steiner has taken over the number two hitting spot for Alabama and averages 2.92 kills per set with a .227 hitting percentage.
Katherine White added nine blocks last week, one solo and eight assisted, and leads the team with 48 total blocks this season. White’s 0.84 blocks per set rank 16th overall in the SEC.
Cristina Arenas has taken over the libero role in the last nine matches and is averaging 4.03 digs per set in the starting role. Arenas averages 3.25 digs per set for the season to rank 12th in the SEC.
Kanesha Burch made her first career start on Sunday against Auburn. She tied her season-high with six kills while posting two blocks in the match.

Next for the Tide
The Alabama Crimson Tide will have seven days off before playing its next match. The Tide will continue SEC play with just one match next week, when Alabama hosts the Missouri Tigers on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 1:30 p.m. CT from Foster Auditorium.

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