Nov. 26, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama (23-8, 9-6 SEC) enters the final week of the regular season in fourth place in the Southeastern Conference standing following 3-0 wins over both Ole Miss and Tennessee last week. For its final to regular season matches, the Crimson Tide will travel to Mississippi State (11-19, 2-14 SEC) for a 7 p.m. CT match on Wednesday, before wrapping up the regular season on Saturday, with a 1 p.m. CT match at LSU (17-11, 7-9 SEC).
FOLLOW THE TIDE ONLINE
Live Audio: RollTide.com (both matches)
Livestats: Hailstate.com (Wednesday)/LSUSports.com (Saturday)
The Crimson Tide posted a 2-0 record last week that included back-to-back three set wins over Mississippi and Tennessee. Alabama averaged 15.83 kills per set with a .251 hitting percentage in the two matches. UA also averaged 1.33 aces, 16.50 digs and 2.67 blocks per set in the two matches.
Alabama hit .305 against Tennessee to post its ninth match of the season with a .300 hitting percentage or better and just the second .300-plus mark during SEC play. Bama posted nine blocks against Ole Miss and seven more against Tennessee. Combined, Ole Miss and Tennessee had a .156 hitting percentage. The Tide held the Rebels to a .126 mark and the Lady Vols to a .184 efficiency.
Alabama notched its 23rd win of the season, equaling the total wins from the 2005 season. Since re-establishing the program in 1989, the record for wins in a season was 24 by the 1995 team. Alabama posted its 10th SEC win with a 3-0 victory over Tennessee on Sunday. It's the first 10-win SEC season since 2007 when that team posted a 12-8 conference record. Alabama ranks fourth in the SEC with 14.07 kills per set and 13.22 assists per set. The Tide is also third in the SEC with a .257 hitting percentage and sixth in the conference with 1.28 aces per set
Crimson Tide outside hitter Brittany Thomas was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday, after leading Alabama with 33 kills and a .385 hitting percentage last week. Thomas has 374 kills to average 3.34 kills per set with a .181 hitting percentage for the season. She is second on the team in kills per set and digs per set (2.35) and she leads the team with 32 aces.
Krystal Rivers leads the team with 400 kills this season to average 3.57 kills per set while hitting .406 for the year, ranking fifth and third in the SEC respectively ... Rivers is also fifth in the SEC with 4.29 points per set this season. Sierra Wilson has 1,319 assists this season to move ahead of Allison Lange for the ninth most assists in a season at Alabama. Wilson currently ranks second in the SEC and sixth in the country with 11.99 assists per set.
Mississippi State enters the final week of the season with an 11-19 overall record, while posting a 2-14 mark against SEC opponents. The Bulldogs have dropped their last 10 matches overall, with its last win coming on Oct. 20 in a three-set victory at home against Tennessee. MSU enters the match averaging 13.05 kills per set with a .196 hitting percentage. The Bulldogs also average 16.51 digs, 1.31 aces and 1.57 blocks per set.
Individually, Mississippi State is led by freshman outside hitter Kimmy Gardiner, who averaged 4.03 kills and 2.49 digs per set. Taylor Scott is second on the team with 2.85 kills and 3.12 digs per set. The team leader in digs is Roxanne McVey, who averages 5.50 per set. Alex Warren has a team-high 81 blocks and Chelsea Duhs is second on the squad with 76 rejections.
Wednesday's match will mark the 48th meeting all-time between the two schools. After Alabama posted a 3-1 win in the first meeting of the season, the Tide holds a 42-15 advantage in the series. Alabama is 16-9 all-time when playing in Starkville, after the Tide snapped a three-match road-losing streak to the Bulldogs with a 3-1 win at the Newell-Grissom Building last season.
LSU will host Ole Miss on Wednesday night before playing their final home match of the season against the Tide on Saturday afternoon. LSU enters the week with a 17-11 record and a 7-9 SEC mark after defeating South Carolina, 3-0, on Sunday. The Tigers average 12.79 kills per set with a .213 hitting percentage this season. LSU also averages 16.00 digs, 2.75 blocks and 0.85 aces per set.
Briana Holman leads the team with 345 kills (3.05 kps) while averaging an SEC leading 1.56 blocks per set. Cati Leak has 327 kills to average a team-high 3.11 per set. Haley Smith leads the team with 412 digs (3.78 dps) and Katie Lindelow is second on the squad with 338 digs (2.99 dps).
Saturday's match between Alabama and LSU will mark the 58th meeting all-time between the two schools. LSU leads the all-time series, 33-24, but Alabama has won two of the last three meetings. The Tide is 4-18 all-time when playing in Baton Rouge and has not won at LSU since Oct. 5, 2003, when Bama posted a 3-2 win. UA has lost nine straight road matches to the Tigers.
Get all the latest information on the team by following AlabamaVBall on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.
The NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament selection show will be Sunday, Dec. 1 at 8:30 p.m. CT, and will be broadcast on ESPNU. The opening rounds of the 2013 NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament will be December 6-8.