Nov. 14, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama (20-7, 7-5 SEC) continues Southeastern Conference action this weekend with road matches at South Carolina and No. 5 Florida. The Crimson Tide opens the week with a Friday evening match against the Gamecocks (12-14, 3-10 SEC), with first serve scheduled for 6 p.m. CT from the Volleyball Competition Facility. UA ends the week in Gainesville, Fla., with a Sunday afternoon match against the Gators (23-2, 12-1). The match will be televised on CSS and ESPN3.com, with first serve scheduled for 1 p.m. CT from the O'Connell Center.
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Live Webcast: Friday at South Carolina at gamecocksonline.com
Television: Sunday at Florida, CSS/ESPN3.com
Alabama posted a 2-1 record last week. The Tide opened the week with a 3-0 win on the road at UAB in its last non-conference match of the season. With the win over UAB, the Crimson Tide improved to 7-2 in true road matches and wrapped up their non-conference schedule with a 13-2 record. Returning to SEC play for the weekend, Alabama defeated Arkansas for the second time this season with a 3-1 win at home on Friday night. UA closed the week with its second 3-1 loss to Missouri this season.
The Crimson Tide remains in fourth place in the Southeastern Conference standings. For the season, the Tide ranks fourth in the SEC and 29th in the country with 14.07 kills per set, fourth in the SEC and 26th in the nation with 13.20 assists per set and third in the conference and 23rd nationally with a .268 hitting percentage. Five of Alabama's seven losses have come against nationally ranked opponents and teams ranked in the top-20 in RPI.
Krystal Rivers has reached double digits in kills in 20-of-27 matches this season, including the last 10 straight matches. Rivers leads the team with 368 kills this season to average 3.68 kills per set. She is third in the SEC and ninth in the country with a .434 hitting percentage. Additionally, she leads the team with 86 total blocks, including a team-high 29 solo blocks and has 437.5 points to average 4.37 points per set in 2013. Mattie Weldy averaged 3.18 kills per set last week, and had 14 kills in the four-set win over Arkansas and 12 against Missouri. For the season, Weldy is fourth on the team with 154 kills to average 2.73 kills per set and during SEC play, she is third on the team with 104 kills to average 3.06 kills per set. Sierra Wilson dished out 127 assists to average 12.18 assist per set in the three matches last week. Wilson has 1,172 assists this season and ranks second in the SEC and fourth in the country with 11.96 assists per set. She now has 2,465 assists her two-year career and ranks sixth in school history in assists.
Head coach Ed Allen is in his third season with the Crimson Tide and 22nd overall as a head coach. With a 20-7 record this season, Allen has a 49-41 record at the Capstone, bringing his career record to 543-224 (.708).
South Carolina enters Friday's match with a 12-14 overall record and a 3-10 mark in SEC play following a straight-set loss to No. 5 Florida on Wednesday night. The Gamecocks have lost three straight matches and five of their last six overall. The Gamecocks are currently tied for 10th in the conference standings. South Carolina is 10th in the SEC with 13.00 kills per set while the team's .221 hitting percentage ranks eighth in the conference.
Leading the Gamecocks offensive attack is Juliette Thevenin, who leads the SEC with 4.78 kills per set. Thevenin, who has 416 kills this season, ranks fourth in the nation in kills per set and is ninth nationally with 5.20 points per set. Darian Dozier is leads the team with a .307 hitting percentage while averaging 2.06 kills per set. Michae Christiaansen has a team-high 3.78 digs per set to rank ninth in the SEC.
Alabama holds a 23-18 record in the series against South Carolina after splitting two matches last season. The Tide defeated the Gamecocks 3-1 in Columbia last season, before South Carolina returned the favor later in the season when the teams met in Tuscaloosa.
Florida enters the weekend with a 23-2 record and are second in the SEC with a 12-1 conference record. The Gators are ranked fifth in the country in this week's AVCA coaches poll, and will host Missouri on Friday. The only SEC loss for Florida came to Missouri on Oct. 20. The Gators are second in the SEC in kills (15.10 kps), hitting percentage (.331) and aces (1.69 aps) and lead the conference in opponent hitting percentage (.154). Florida also averages 2.17 blocks and 1.69 aces per set.
Ziva Recek and Chloe Mann are averaging over three kills per set, as Recek leads the team with 3.47 kps and Mann is second with 3.40 kps. Mann is the nation's leader with a .510 hitting percentage. Taylor Brauneis is third in the SEC with 11.50 assists per set and libero Taylor Unroe is sixth in the conference with a team-high 4.07 digs per set.
Sunday's match will mark the 44th meeting between the two schools. Following the three set win over the Tide on Oct. 6, Florida has won the last 38 meetings between the two schools. Alabama posted five wins over the Gators prior to dropping the program in 1982. Since re-establishing the program 1989, Alabama has lost 38 straight matches to Florida.
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Next week the Crimson Tide will return to Foster Auditorium for its final two home matches of the season. Alabama will host the Ole Miss Rebels on Friday, Nov. 22, with first serve scheduled for 7 p.m. CT. The final home match of the season will have the Tennessee Lady Vols at Foster Auditorium on Sunday, Nov. 24. The match will be televised on CSS, with first serve slated for 1 p.m. CT.