Dec. 1, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama volleyball team returns to the post-season for the fourth time in school history, and the first time since 2007, after being selected to the 2013 NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament on Sunday night. The Crimson Tide will open the tournament on Thursday, Dec. 5, against the Oklahoma Sooners in Palo Alto, Calif. First serve for the match is set for 6:30 p.m. CT from Maples Pavilion.
"I'm just really excited about the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament," said third-year Alabama head coach Ed Allen. "This is the culmination of a lot of hard work from a number people within the program. It's encouraging to see the process pay off and to have the support from the administration, other coaches, and my coaching staff. Clearly the biggest difference right now is that I'm supported by the players. That's pretty rewarding."
The Tide finished the regular season with a 24-9 overall record, while finishing fourth in the Southeastern Conference with an 11-7 mark. Alabama is 3-1 all-time against the Sooners. The last time Alabama and Oklahoma faced each other, the Sooners posted a 3-0 victory over the Tide on Aug. 25, 2007.
The other half of the opening round matches feature the host and No. 7 seed Stanford Cardinal and the Hampton Pirates. The match between Stanford and Hampton is scheduled for 9 p.m. CT. The two winners will play in the second round, with the match scheduled for Friday, Dec. 6, at 9 p.m. CT.
Alabama made consecutive NCAA tournament appearances from 2005-07, suffering first round exits all three years, as the Crimson Tide is 0-3 all-time in the NCAA tournament.
"I'm really excited and just looking forward to getting the post-season started," senior outside hitter Andrea McQuaid said. "It's been a great opportunity to part of this program with Coach Allen and the building process. It's been a great opportunity and a great learning experience for me, and this is a great way to top it all off with the NCAA tournament in my final year."
The Tide is paced by redshirt freshman Krystal Rivers, who leads the team with 3.58 kills per set with a .406 hitting percentage and 102 total blocks. Freshman outside hitter Brittany Thomas adds 3.35 kills and 2.40 digs per set, while sophomore setter Sierra Wilson dishes out 12.04 assists per set.
"This is such a great experience," Wilson said. "We've gone through so much together and we're a family. To be together and see our name on the screen was just really, really fun. We are all so excited. It's great to see the culmination of all our hard work of the years and this is just the start, and we have to win games in the tournament. We're just going to keep building."
Oklahoma is led by senior middle blocker Sallie McLaurin who averages 3.76 kills per set and ranks second in the Big 12 Conference at .423 in hitting percentage. On the pins, sophomore Kierra Holst and senior Keila Rodriguez contribute to the attack with 2.97 and 2.43 kills per set, respectively. Sophomore Julia Doyle has started all 30 matches at setter this season and averages 9.45 assists per set. Defensively, sophomore libero Taylor Migliazzo leads the Sooners with 3.95 digs per set followed by Rodriguez at 3.25. McLaurin leads the way at the net with a 1.34 blocks per set average.
Alabama is one of eight teams to represent the SEC in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, as conference champions Missouri, along with Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, Texas A&M, LSU and Arkansas were selected to the 64-team field.
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