Nov. 4, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - After posting a 3-1 win over Mississippi State on Friday night, Alabama (18-6, 6-4 SEC) will play its final non-conference match of the season on Tuesday night. For that match, the Crimson Tide will travel to Birmingham, Ala., to take on the UAB Blazers (18-10, 5-5 CUSA), with first serve scheduled for 7 p.m. CT from Bartow Arena.
In its only match last week, Alabama dropped the opening set to the Bulldogs, before winning the next three sets. Bama posted a .276 hitting percentage in the match, while holding MSU to a .207 percentage. The Bulldogs out-dug the Tide 55 to 52, marking just the fourth time this season Alabama had less digs in a match than its opponents.
For the season, the Tide ranks fourth in the SEC with 14.20 kills per set, and third in the conference with 13.33 assists and a .269 hitting percentage. UA ranks 19th in the country in assists per set and hitting percentage and 20th nationally in kill per set.
Redshirt freshman middle blocker Krystal Rivers leads the Crimson Tide with 327 kills to average 3.67 kills per set, which ranks fifth in the SEC and 76th nationally. Rivers also ranks third in the SEC and ninth in the country with a .448 hitting percentage. Sierra Wilson is second in the SEC and fourth nationally with 12.01 assists per set and Brittany Thomas is second in the team with 3.36 kills and 2.35 digs per set. Thomas' 3.36 kills per set ranks ninth in the SEC. Kryssi Daniels leads the team with 3.20 digs per set.
Head coach Ed Allen is in his third season with the Crimson Tide and 22nd overall as a head coach. With an 18-6 record this season, Allen has a 47-40 record at the Capstone, bringing his career record to 541-223 (.708).
The UAB Blazers enter Tuesday's match with an 18-10 overall record following a four-set loss to Tulane on Friday night. The Conference-USA loss to Tulane snapped a three-game winning streak for the Blazers. UAB is averaging 13.59 kills per set with a .250 hitting percentage this season. The Blazers also average 14.35 digs, 1.42 aces and 2.51 blocks per set as a team.
Sam Skinner is the go to outside hitter the Blazers, as she averages 4.23 kills per set with a .268 hitting percentage as a sophomore, while averaging 1.67 digs and 0.59 blocks per set. Sara Rishell is second on the team with 312 kills (3.09 kps) while leading the squad with a .339 hitting percentage. Kiriana Hirini is also hitting .339 to match Rishell, and is averaging 2.83 kills per set. Rishell leads the team with 117 blocks and Hirini is close behind with 115. Becca Howard has 1,008 assists to average 11.45 per set and Rachel Fairbanks has a team-high 500 digs to average 4.95 per set.
Tuesday's match between Alabama and UAB will mark the 31st meeting all-time between the two schools in volleyball. Alabama holds a 19-11 advantage in the all-time series, while holding a 7-5 record when playing the Blazers in Birmingham. In the most recent meeting, the Crimson Tide posted a 3-1 victory over UAB on Sept. 4, 2010. Alabama has won six of the last seven overall, with the last UAB win coming on Aug. 31, 2007, when the Blazers posted a 3-2 win over the Tide in Tuscaloosa.
With 18 wins this season, the Alabama Crimson Tide matched its win total from the 2012 season, equaling the most wins in a season since winning 23 matches in 2005. With two more victories, Alabama would reach the 20-win plateau for the seventh time since reestablishing the program in 1989, a span of 25 seasons. During that same time frame, the Tide has reached 19 wins in a season just eight times and 18 or more wins 10 times.
After hitting the road for a non-conference match against UAB on Tuesday, The Tide returns to Foster Auditorium for two Southeastern Conference matches this 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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