MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama Volleyball capped a perfect weekend at the ISTAP Collegiate Cup 2 on Saturday, sweeping Alabama State and Towson.
Alabama (8-2) defeated Alabama State (4-8) and Towson (9-1) by an average of 6.5 points in each set. Between the two matches, Kat Hutson led the Tide with 24 kills and a .550 hitting percentage, while Brittany Thomas was close behind with 20 kills and a .378 clip. Sierra Wilson totaled 70 assists, an average of 11.6 per set, while Krystal Rivers earned four of the team’s 13 service aces.
MATCH ONE: ALABAMA 3, ALABAMA STATE 0
With a bright and early start Saturday morning at the ISTAP Collegiate Cup 2, Alabama earned its second sweep of the weekend, topping the host Alabama State Hornets in straight sets.
Alabama earned its seventh win and third sweep of the season in convincing fashion over Alabama State, winning each set by at least six points. Kat Hutson and Brittany Thomas tied for the team lead with 12 kills as both finished with career-high hitting percentages at .625 and .478, respectively. Pacing the offense was Sierra Wilson with 38 assists, her most in a three-set match this season. Three Crimson Tide freshmen also made their collegiate debuts in the match, as Emily Stebbins and Haley Little each earned a kill while Reagan Petty tallied one dig.
Alabama started the first set with five unanswered points before Alabama State got on the board. The Hornets would battle back to eventually tie the set at 15-15, but the Tide pulled back away with a 6-1 run to make it 21-16 as Alabama State took its first timeout. The home team would score a point out of the break but a kill by Wilson and an ace by Caitlin Bernardin would make it 23-17 as Alabama State took its final timeout. Each team would score two more points as Alabama eventually won the set, 25-19.
Tied at 2-2 early in the second set, Alabama would significantly widen the gap courtesy of a 13-5 run, including six unanswered points, to move ahead 15-7 and force the Hornets to take their first timeout. Alabama State would fight back as the Tide’s 10-point lead at 22-12 was eventually narrowed to six points thanks to four unanswered by the home team. Alabama would hang on for the set victory however, winning 25-17 to take a 2-0 match advantage.
The third set was the most decisive of the match, seeing Alabama build an early 8-3 lead before Alabama State took a timeout. Alabama kept widening the lead, eventually taking a double-digit lead, 20-10, as the Hornets took their final timeout. A kill by Leah Lawrence would bring up match point, 24-13, and Stebbins sealed the sweep with her first collegiate kill to give Alabama the 25-13 set victory.
MATCH TWO: ALABAMA 3, TOWSON 0
The Tide wrapped up its perfect weekend with a sweep over Towson, defeating the Tigers 25-20, 25-21 and 25-21. Kat Hutson led the way on offense with 12 kills while Brittany Thomas was just two kills shy of a double-double, finishing with eight kills and 11 digs. Thomas also set a new career high with three solo blocks and tied a career high with five blocks.
Alabama got off to a strong start immediately, pulling ahead 9-3 as Towson took an early timeout. The Tigers would fight back within three points, down 12-9, but Alabama widened the lead with a 4-2 run, leading 16-11 as Towson burned its final timeout. That five-point lead would hold until the final score, as an attack error by the Tigers gave Alabama the five-point victory, 25-20.
After a pair of lead changes, the teams were tied up at 7-7 early in set two. The Tide would move ahead 16-11 off a 9-4 run, including three kills by Rivers, as Towson took its first timeout. A kill by Thomas would put Alabama ahead by six following the break, but four-straight points by Towson would narrow it to a two-point lead, 17-15. Alabama would hit the 20-point mark up by four and would win the set by the same margin, topping Towson 25-21 to take a 2-0 match lead.
The Tigers would score the first point of the third set, but Alabama would quickly regroup to take a 10-5 lead as Towson took a timeout. The Tigers would cut it to a one-point game, 16-15, but a kill by Wilson and an error by Towson made it 18-15 as Towson burned its final timeout. Alabama moved up by five, 22-17, but Towson responded with three-straight points to make it 22-20 as the Tide took its first timeout of the match. The teams traded points until Alabama reached match point, 24-21, and Hutson sealed the sweep with a kill as the Tide won set three, 25-21.
On Tuesday, Sept. 16, Alabama makes its 2014 home debut, welcoming the UAB Blazers (3-7) to Foster Auditorium. The match is set to start at 7:02 p.m. CT. Fans can watch a live stream of the match via the SEC Network+ or can listen to the audio stream locally on 90.7 FM or online at WVUA-FM.ua.edu.