Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Following their first trip to the SEC Tournament championship match in 24 years, the Alabama volleyball team (23-9) is set to conclude the regular season Wednesday night in Muncie, Ind. against Ball State (20-10). A victory will tie the Crimson Tide’s modern era (1989-present) record for wins in a season.
Alabama is 14-2 in non-conference play this season. The Tide’s only losses were to Kansas, in the season opener, and to Florida in the SEC Tournament championship.
The Tide is coming off a remarkable run through the SEC Tournament last weekend that saw Alabama upset LSU and then No. 25 Tennessee before falling to No. 4 Florida. Sophomore Bridget Fuentez and senior Jessica Yearout earned all-tournament honors for their play in the event.
Fuentez, a second team All-SEC selection, has been the Tide’s offensive leader all season from her outside hitter position. The Tomball, Texas native leads the squad in kills, averaging 3.77 per game.
Yearout has keyed the Tide’s defense averaging 4.43 digs per game, a mark that would be a new school record.
Alabama is 2-0 all time against the Cardinals, defeating them last in 2001 at the Hilton Classic in Las Cruces, New Mexico. This will be the first time the two teams have met on a non-neutral court.
Ball State also fell in their conference tournament final last weekend. The Cardinals defeated Miami (Ohio) and Eastern Michigan before falling to No. 20 Ohio in the MAC Tournament.
Rachel Refenes leads Ball State offensively and defensively, averaging 4.48 kills per game. Refenes also leads Ball State with a 1.48 block per game average. The Cardinals also feature one of the nation’s leading diggers in Amanda McCormick, who ranks fourth in the NCAA with a 6.31 dig per game average.
First serve for Wednesday’s match is set for 7:00 p.m.