Nov. 29, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – With a school record on the line, Alabama made quick work of Tennessee Saturday afternoon in the regular season finale as the Crimson Tide swept the Volunteers, 3-0, to set a new school record with 25 wins this season.
Alabama (25-7, 13-5 SEC) wrapped up its regular season in style, setting a new school record for wins in a single season at home on senior day, as the Tide honored its two seniors Katherine White and Caitlin Bernardin. The previous school record of 24 was originally set in 1995 and was matched last season. The 49 combined wins from this season and last season are already the most in any two-year span in school history.
Sierra Wilson paced the offense with 36 assists, which gives her a new single-season best of 1,459. The total ranks second all-time at Alabama and is only 25 shy of the school record of 1,484 set by Kenna Milner in 2002. Kat Hutson led the offense with 11 kills and a .474 hitting percentage, followed closely behind by Krystal Rivers with 10 kills. The pair combined for six of the team’s eight service aces, which is the team’s second-highest total in SEC play.
Tennessee (8-24, 1-17 SEC) struggled, hitting .176 as a team with no players in double-digit kills. Twelve service errors hurt the Volunteers’ effort, though they out-blocked the Tide 7.0-6.0.
Alabama got off to a hot start in the opening set, jumping ahead to a 15-8 lead at the media timeout. The Tide widened the gap with a 6-3 run out of the break, leading 21-11 as Tennessee took a late timeout. The Volunteers would not score another point in the set, as Alabama ended it with four-straight points to win, 25-11.
The second set was much closer than the first, as Tennessee tied the score four times before taking its first lead of the match, 9-8. The Volunteers pulled further ahead, 12-9, as Alabama took its first timeout. The Tide would come back to tie it at 15-15 as Tennessee took a timeout and eventually pull away to lead 23-19 as the Volunteers took their final timeout. Each team would score one point before Leah Lawrence sealed the set victory with a kill to give the Tide the 25-20 win and a 2-0 lead heading into intermission.
Tied at 4-4 in the third set, Alabama used an 8-3 run to lead 12-7 at the halfway point as Tennessee took its first timeout. Alabama pulled ahead by double digits late, leading 22-12 as the Volunteers burned its final timeout. Alabama reached set point, 24-13, and Tennessee grabbed a point off a Tide service error but Bruna Evangelista ended it on a strong kill at the pin to win the set, 25-14, and complete the sweep over Tennessee.
Next up, Alabama will await its NCAA Tournament fate as the selection committee will announce its final field of 64 teams on Sunday, Nov. 30 live on ESPNU at 7:30 p.m. CT.