Oct. 31, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama (17-6/5-4 SEC) will have one match this week when it hosts the Mississippi State Bulldogs (11-11, 2-6 SEC) on Friday, Nov. 1. First serve between the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT from Foster Auditorium.
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The Alabama Crimson Tide volleyball team ranks in the top-20 nationally in three categories. The Tide ranks 18th nationally with a .269 hitting percentage. Alabama also ranks 19th in kills per set (14.24) and 20th in assists per set (13.33).
Freshman middle blocker Krystal Rivers ranks third in the SEC and ninth nationally with a .442 hitting percentage. Rivers also ranks 83rd in the country with 3.62 kills per set and 59th nationally with 4.29 points per set. Sophomore setter Sierra Wilson is currently in the top-10 nationally in assists per set. Wilson, who ranks second in the SEC with 11.99 assists per set, ranks fifth nationally. Wilson finished her freshman season second in the SEC with 10.87 assists per set, which ranked 46th best in the country.
For the season, Weldy is averaging 2.69 kills per set with a .225 hitting percentage. Andrea McQuaid is averaging 1.64 kills per set and is second on the team with a .292 hitting percentage this season. Bria Green averages just 0.25 kills per set while averaging 1.79 digs per set for the season. Brittany Thomas is second on the team with 289 kills (3.40 kps) and 200 digs (2.35 dps) this season ... during SEC play, Thomas is averaging 3.68 kills and 1.91 digs per set ... Thomas leads the team with 24 aces and is second on the two with nine aces during conference play.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs will come to Tuscaloosa Friday after losing matches on the road at Kentucky and Georgia last week. Freshman Kimmy Gardiner was recognized by the SEC as the Co-Freshman of the Week for her performance this past weekend. The opposite hitter posted 32 kills, 18 digs, four aces and three blocks over the two matches.
Mississippi State enters Friday night's match averaging 13.67 kills per set with a .216 hitting percentage. The Bulldogs average 1.61 blocks and 17.41 (second in the SEC) to limit opponents to a .202 hitting percentage this season.
Gardiner leads the team with 4.00 kills per set, which ranks fourth in the conference. She is also averaging 2.42 digs per set, which is second on the team behind libero Roxanne McVey, who is second in the SEC with 5.46 digs per set. Taylor Scott is second on the squad with 2.82 kills per set. Middle blocker Chelsea Duhs is averaging a team-high 0.83 blocks per set.
Friday's match will be the 57th meeting between Alabama and Mississippi State, with Alabama leading the series 41-15. Last season Alabama posted a 3-1 victory in Starkville, finishing the match with a .255 hitting percentage. After dropping the first set, Alabama won the second set 26-24, before closing out the match in four sets with 25-17 and 25-23 victories. UA's best offensive numbers came in the third set with a .485 percentage, as the Tide had 17 kills and just one error.
Following the SEC match against Mississippi State on Friday, the Crimson Tide will play three matches next week. UA opens the week with a non-conference match on Tuesday, when it travels to Birmingham to take on the UAB Blazers at 7 p.m. CT. The Tide returns to Foster Auditorium for two conference matches on the weekend, hosting Arkansas on Friday at 7 p.m., followed by a Sunday afternoon match against No. 7 Missouri at 1:30 p.m.
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