Friday, November 26, 2004
» Box Score
BATON ROUGE, La. – The University of Alabama volleyball team’s chances of getting an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament took a serious hit on Friday night when the Tide dropped a hard-fought 3-2 (30-24, 30-26, 31-33, 25-30, 7-15) decision to Houston at the SEC/C-USA Challenge.
The Crimson Tide, now 20-10 on the year, grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the contest but for the second consecutive match couldn’t close things out against the Cougars, who improve to 10-21 this season.
Alabama senior All-American candidate Erin Heffner posted her first 20-20 performance of the year recording 21 kills and a career best 28 digs in the loss. Junior Jessica Yearout and freshman Brigitte Slack also both recorded over 20 digs finishing with 22 and 20, respectively.
Senior Julie Farley tallied 13 kills for the Bama offense with freshmen Crystal Hudson and Bridget Fuentez each chipping in 12 kills on the night. Kory Tull (14) and Megan Hudson (11) each posted double digit digs in the match.
UA got out of the blocks quickly taking the opening game by the count of 30-24. The Tide hit at a match-high .250 clip in the first game finishing with 18 kills and only six hitting miscues. Alabama continued its season-long solid play in game two improving to 24-5 on the year in the second frame with a 30-26 victory.
Game three was a back-and-forth affair that saw the Tide mount a late rally to reach match point at 29-27. However, Alabama was unable to score the deciding point and eventually dropped the frame, 33-31. Houston continued to build the momentum and even the match at two with a 30-25 win in the fourth game.
The Cougars saved their best for last winning the fifth game by a score of 15-7, thanks in part to an impressive .458 hitting performance that included 12 kills and just one error in 24 attempts.
Houston had a pair of hitters finish the match with over 20 kills as Loure Dews had 22 and Kelly McAnelly posted 21. The real difference in the match for the Cougars was the play of their back row defense which out-dug the Tide 128-117. Jaci Gonzalez led the UH digging crew tallying 43 digs for the match.
Alabama concludes its regular season slate and the SEC/C-USA Challenge on Saturday at 5 p.m. against Tulane. The Green Wave (17-11) dropped a 3-2 decision to LSU on Friday evening.