Volleyball Back at Foster for Matches against Florida and Georgia

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Kanesha Burch is averaging 2.68 kills with a .333 hitting percentage in the last three matches.
Kanesha Burch is averaging 2.68 kills with a .333 hitting percentage in the last three matches.

Oct. 18, 2012

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama (14-7, 3-6 SEC) returns to Foster Auditorium for a pair of home SEC matches against No. 11 Florida and Georgia this week. When the Crimson Tide hosts nationally ranked Florida on Friday night at 7 p.m. CT, it will be the annual Power of Pink Night, presented by Tuscaloosa Toyota. UA closes the weekend with a Sunday afternoon match against the Georgia Bulldogs, with first serve set for 1:30 p.m. CT.

For Alabama’s matches this week, live video and audio will be available on RollTide.com, through the TideTV subscription package. Livestats will also be available on the RollTide.com. In addition to the normal online coverage, Sunday’s match against Georgia will also be broadcast live on WVUA in Tuscaloosa, with Rich Robinson calling the action.

When the Crimson Tide takes on the No. 11 Florida Gators on Friday, it’s the annual Power of Pink match. Fans will have the opportunity to pick up great giveaways all night long, as fans will be given Power of Pink t-shirts, Tervis tumblers, umbrellas, volleyballs, headbands, and one lucky fan will walk away with an iPod Shuffle – all courtesy of Tuscaloosa Toyota. In addition, the first 200 UA students in attendance will receive a free hot dog and drink. On Sunday it’s the Beat Auburn, Beat Hunger promotion. Any fan that donates a non-perishable food item will receive free admission. In addition, kids 12 and younger can participate in our postgame serving lines and autograph session with the team.

Laura Steiner was named the SEC Volleyball Freshman of the Week after leading the Crimson Tide with a combined 33 kills in matches against South Carolina and LSU last week. Steiner averaged 4.12 kills per set on the weekend, posting 14 against the Gamecocks and a career-high 19 against LSU. She finished the weekend with a .333 hitting percentage, while helping the Tide post a .310 mark, as UA posted a four-set season-high .336 hitting percentage against South Carolina.

Florida enters the week ranked 11th in the AVCA Coaches Poll. The Gators (15-2, 9-0 SEC) have won their last 12 matches, after sweeping Mississippi and Auburn last week. Florida leads the SEC with a .313 team hitting percentage and 1.56 aces per set. UF is second in the conference with 14.27 kills per set.
Florida has two players that rank in the top five in the SEC in kills, with Ziva Recek averaging 3.92 kills per set and Chloe Mann with 3.85 per set. Mann also leads the conference with a .422 hitting percentage and is third with 1.15 blocks per set. Taylor Brauneis has benefitted from the kills production, as she leads the SEC with 11.43 assists per set. Taylor Unroe is second in the conference with 0.36 aces per set, while ranking fifth in the SEC with 4.34 digs per frame.
Friday’s match between Alabama and Florida will be the 41st meeting all-time between the two schools. Florida leads the series 35-5 overall and has won the last 36 meetings. UA is 2-17 all-time at home against the Gators. The Tide has dropped the last seven matches in the series in straight sets. 
Coming off a 3-1 loss to Georgia Tech on Tuesday, the Georgia Bulldogs enter the weekend with an 11-8 record with a 5-4 mark in SEC matches. Georgia ranks 10th in the SEC with a .219 hitting percentage and is 11th in the conference with 13.13 kills per set. The Dogs are sixth in the SEC with 2.49 blocks per frame.
Tirah Le’au continues to lead the Bulldogs with 2.84 kills per set, while hitting .218 for the season. During SEC play, Brianna Bahr has stepped up to lead the team with 3.08 kills per set, while Brittany Northcutt is second on the team during SEC play with 2.92 kills per set. Allison Summers is third in the conference with 4.44 digs per set and Kaylee Kehoe averages a team-high 6.21 assists per set. Elena Perri ranks sixth in the SEC with 1.11 blocks per set.
Sunday’s match between Alabama and Georgia will mark the 48th meeting all-time in the series. Alabama leads the overall series 25-22, while holding a 10-10 record when playing in Tuscaloosa. After Alabama swept the season series last year, the Bulldogs won the first meeting this season, 3-2, when the team met in Athens on Sept. 21.

Senior outside hitter Kayla Fitterer entered her final season with 989 career kills in 81 matches played at the Capstone. Fitterer had 10 kills in the season opener against Holy Cross and then became the 13th player in school history with 1,000 career kills with her first against Northeastern in the second match of the season. She reached the 1,000-kill mark in her 83rd career match at Alabama. With 229 kills this season, Fitterer now ranks 11th in school history with 1,218 career kills and needs 29 kills to pass Jennifer Bibber for 10th. Fitterer ranks second among active players in the SEC in career kills as she trails Arkansas’ Jasmine Horton’s total of 1,614.

Alabama went on the road last weekend for matches at South Carolina and LSU and posted a 1-1 record. The Tide opened the week with a 3-1 win at South Carolina on Friday, before falling in four sets at LSU on Sunday. After dropping the first set to the Gamecocks, UA won the next three sets, as the Tide hit .430 over that stretch. UA dropped the first two sets to LSU on Sunday before posting a 25-14 victory in the third. However, with Alabama leading 23-22 in the fourth, LSU scored the final three points of the set to win the match and split the season series against the Tide. 

• Alabama posted a season-best for a four-set match with a .336 hitting percentage against South Carolina on Friday.
• In the second set against South Carolina, Alabama had no hitting errors and hit .593 in the set. It was the highest hitting percentage in a set for Alabama this season.
• Alabama had a balanced attack against South Carolina, as four players reached double figures in kills in the same match for the first time this season.
• UA then topped season single set high hitting percentage with a .621 mark in the third set at LSU, posting 18 kills on 29 attempts.
• Alabama finished last week with a .310 hitting percentage, as the Tide had just 22 hitting errors on 306 attempts.
• For the season, Alabama ranks fifth in the SEC with a .243 hitting percentage and ranks 49th nationally.
• Alabama is third in the SEC with 1.36 aces per set which ranks 90th overall in the country.
• The Tide’s 13.30 kills per set this season rank seventh in the SEC and 95th in the country.

Sierra Wilson is second in the conference with 11.03 assists per set, which ranks 38th in the country. Wilson is one of three Crimson Tide players to play in every set this season. Kryssi Daniels and Cristina Arenas have also played in all 76 sets this season. In 21 matches, Wilson has made 2,031 sets and has committed just 10 ball handling errors, which is one ball handling error for every 203 sets.
Kanesha Burch has started the last six matches for Alabama. In the last three matches, Burch has reached double figures in kills, and is now averaging 1.65 kills per set with a .268 hitting percentage this season. In the last three matches, Burch is averaging 2.58 kills per set with a .333 hitting percentage while averaging a team-high 0.92 blocks per set. Last weekend against South Carolina and LSU, Burch averaged 2.62 kills with a .347 hitting percentage to go along with 1.12 blocks per set.
Kayla Fitterer continues to lead the team with 3.68 kills per set this season, which ranks sixth best in the SEC. During SEC play, Fitterer is averaging 3.89 kills per set with a .275 hitting percentage.
Kryssi Daniels continues to lead the SEC in aces with 36, while her conference best 0.47 aces per set ranks 12th in the country.
Laura Steiner was named the SEC Freshman of the Week after averaging 4.12 kills per set last week. Steiner is currently 13th in the SEC with 3.18 kills per set this season.
Cristina Arenas tied an Alabama home match record with 30 digs against Missouri (10/7). For the season, Arenas averages 3.47 digs per set (3.69 dps in SEC play) to rank 13th in the conference. Arenas has been the starting libero for Alabama in the last 14 matches and is averaging 4.08 digs per set in that role.
Kelsey Melito has appeared as a defensive specialist in the last 10 matches for Alabama. In the last three matches she tied, then set a career-high for digs after recording eight against Missouri, 10 against South Carolina and 13 against LSU.

The Crimson Tide will travel Fayetteville, Ark., and Knoxville, Tenn., for matches against Arkansas and Tennessee next week. Alabama opens the week on Friday, Oct. 26, with a 7 p.m. match against the Razorbacks from the Barnhill Arena. The week wraps up with a Sunday afternoon match against the Lady Vols. First serve is scheduled for 12 p.m. CT, from the Thompson-Boling Arena.

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