Volleyball Heads West for Pair of SEC Matches

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Calli Johnson notched a career-best four service aces in the Tide's last match
Calli Johnson notched a career-best four service aces in the Tide's last match

Oct. 9, 2008

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The volleyball team (8-6, 1-4) looks to come out fresh this weekend when it travels to take on a set of SEC West opponents in Arkansas (4-11, 1-4) and Ole Miss (7-7, 3-2). The Tide will face the Razorbacks Friday, Oct. 10 at 7:00 p.m. (CST) and will head to Ole Miss for a 1:30 p.m. (CST) showdown with the Rebels on Sunday, Oct. 12.

"We are entering the part of the season where it is any team's ballgame on any given day," said head coach Judy Green. "We need to play with our personality this weekend, and we've got to execute and just play our game."

Alabama is coming off a two-match losing skid falling to No. 10 Florida and South Carolina. The Gators edged the Tide 3-1 Friday night at the CAVE in Tuscaloosa with scores of 25-23, 18-25, 25-19, 25-21. Junior Brooks Webster led the Alabama in several categories including kills (14), total attack (50), digs (23) and blocks (two). The 23 digs were a new a new career best for Webster. Sophomore Lauren Martin set up the majority of the offense accounting for 30 of the Tide's 37 assists. Senior Amy Pauly finished the match with 12 digs to tally her 10th double-digit dig effort of the season, while sophomore Mary Catherine Aune tacked on four service aces moving her within 12 of the Alabama record book. In Sunday's contest, the Gamecocks wrapped up the match in three sets by scores of 25-21, 25-17, 25-19. Webster led the Alabama attack in kills with 13, while Martin dished out 23 assists. On the defensive side, Pauly scooped up 10 digs, and junior Elizabeth Salstrand led the blocking front with four rejections.

Friday's match with Arkansas will be the 31st meeting between the schools. The Razorbacks hold a commanding 25-5 lead, but the Tide has won three of the past four. Arkansas has dropped its last four contests in the conference with losses to Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and LSU. Most recently, the Razorbacks met up with the Bulldogs and Tigers where both matches were decided in three sets. Leading Arkansas this season is senior Christina Lawrence and freshman Kelli Stipanovich. Lawrence hit .500 at LSU Sunday off 15 kills. Stipanovich averaged .400 in hitting percentage over the two matches with 20 kills, four digs and two blocks.

Ole Miss and Alabama will meet for the 54th time in program history where Alabama owns the all-time series 38-15. Most recently, the Rebels split a pair of contest on the road falling to LSU 3-0 and defeating Georgia 3-0. Key performances for Ole Miss came from senior Allison Weber, who notched a career-best 23 digs against the Bulldogs. Leading the offensive attack was senior Emily Jones with a season-high 12 kills and sophomore Miranda Kitts with 10 kills.

After a productive week of practice, Coach Green feels the team is ready for the weekend ahead and expects a newly recharged and resurgent team to come out on the court.

"We have a renewed sense of spirit," added Green. " I am excited to see just how much better we can be as a team."