Nov. 26, 2014
COLUMBIA, Mo. –
Facing a 2-0 deficit at intermission, Alabama gutted out three strong sets Wednesday night on the road to complete the five-set comeback over Missouri, 3-2.
The win is the Crimson Tide’s 24th this season, which matches the single-season school record in wins. The record was originally set in 1995 and was matched last season as well. Another win this season would make it the winningest season in school history.
Alabama (24-7, 12-5 SEC) was led offensively by Krystal Rivers with 25 kills and 15 digs for her 10th double-double of the season. Brittany Thomas also earned her 10th double-double of the season with 16 kills and 16 digs. Natalie Murison led the defense with 19 digs while Sierra Wilson tallied 61 assists, putting her just 27 assists away from a her own single-season best.
Missouri (16-16, 7-6 SEC) was led by Carly Kan with 18 kills and 24 digs, while Kasey Reuter was a weapon at the service line with a match-leading four service aces.
Trailing 8-6, Alabama rattled off three-straight points to take a 9-8 lead as Missouri called a timeout. The Tigers eventually rallied back to take a 16-15 lead as Alabama took its first timeout. After seven tie scores, Hutson knocked in a kill to give Alabama set point, 24-23. Missouri tied it back up for an eighth time at 24-24, and the Tigers powered ahead to win 27-25.
Set two unfolded much the same as the first, as the two teams battled closely with Missouri leading 12-9 at the halfway point. Alabama used a 6-3 run to tie it back up at 15-15 and eventually take an 18-17 lead. Later, tied at 19-19, the Tigers scored three-straight points to pull ahead 22-19 as Alabama took a timeout. Alabama would draw back within one, down 23-22, but Missouri closed it out to win 25-23 and take a 2-0 match lead into the locker room.
Alabama stormed out of the gate to open the third set, leading 6-1 as Missouri took an early timeout. Alabama would hold its lead throughout the set, but Missouri would start to close the gap. Alabama held a two-point lead late, 21-19, and back-to-back Missouri errors made it 23-19 as the Tigers took a timeout. Alabama reached set point off a kill by Bruna Evangelista and the teams traded points to end it as Alabama won, 25-21, to avoid the sweep.
A service ace by Rivers gave Alabama a 7-3 lead early in the fourth set to force a Missouri timeout. The Tigers would come back to tie it at 10-10 but Alabama would respond with a 5-1 run to move back ahead, 15-11. Alabama held the same four-point lead at set point, 24-20, but a service error by the Tide gave the Tigers possession and drew them within three. Thomas ended the set with a kill to force a deciding fifth set.
Missouri scored the first three points of the fifth set, but Alabama responded with five unanswered points to lead 5-3 as the Tigers took its first timeout. Alabama held a two-point lead at the mid-set switch, 8-6, and held a two-point lead as Missouri burned its final timeout, 11-9. The Tigers would fight back late, drawing within one as Alabama took a timeout up 13-12. A kill by Thomas made it match point and another kill down the net by Thomas ended it as Alabama won, 15-12, to complete the comeback and claim the five-set victory.
This weekend, Alabama wraps up the 2014 regular season hosting Tennessee (8-23, 1-16 SEC) on Saturday, Nov. 29 at 1 p.m. CT in Foster Auditorium. Admission to the match is free and the Tide will be honoring its two seniors, Katherine White and Caitlin Bernardin.