Nov. 12, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama won its midweek matchup against Mississippi State in convincing fashion on Wednesday in Foster Auditorium, sweeping the Bulldogs for the Crimson Tide’s 21st victory of the season.
Alabama (21-6, 9-4 SEC) limited Mississippi State (6-22, 1-12 SEC) to a .207 hitting percentage, as the Bulldogs hit above .200 in just one of the three sets. Freshman Kat Hutson led the Tide with 13 kills while Leah Lawrence put on a strong performance with four block assists and one solo block along with eight kills. Natalie Murison and Kryssi Daniels paired up for a combined 16 digs on defense while Sierra Wilson paced the offense with 34 assists.
A comfortable lead in the closing stages allowed Alabama to turn to its bench for support and they responded. Laura Steiner finished the night with six kills, just one shy of her season best, and a perfect hitting percentage. Caitlin Bernardin, Reagan Petty, Mattie Weldy and Emily Stebbins also contributed in the winning effort as 14 players saw playing time in the match.
Tied at 5-5 in the opening set, Alabama started to pull away with a 6-2 run capped by three unanswered points to pull ahead 11-7 as Mississippi State called a timeout. Alabama would continue with three-consecutive points out of the break before the Bulldogs finally answered back, making it a 14-8 game. Later leading by six, 17-11, a kill by Brittany Thomas and a block by Thomas and Bruna Evangelista make it 19-11 as the Bulldogs took their final timeout. Mississippi State would draw back within five but with a 23-18 lead, Alabama put the set away with back-to-back points to win 25-18.
The second set was the closest of the night, totaling eight tie scores and four lead changes. Alabama retook an early lead from Mississippi State, 3-2, and slowly started to increase the gap, leading 15-11 at the media timeout. The Bulldogs quickly came back to tie it with four-straight points, making it 15-15, and would eventually take a 17-16 lead. The lead was short-lived however, as the Tide pulled back ahead, 19-18, to force a Mississippi State timeout. The Bulldogs battled back to tie it at 21-21 as Alabama took a timeout before going on a 3-1 run to make it set point, 24-22, as the Bulldogs took their final timeout. A block by Krystal Rivers and Lawrence ended it as the Tide edged out the set, 25-22, to take a 2-0 lead into the locker room at intermission.
Alabama rolled early in the third set, scoring five unanswered points before a red card given to the Mississippi State bench awarded an additional point to the Tide, making it 6-0. Alabama would lead 11-4 at the Bulldogs’ first timeout and slightly extended the lead to eight points, 18-10, at the second and final Mississippi State timeout. An ace by Rivers and a kill by Steiner gave the Tide a double-digit lead, 20-10, which held until match point at 24-14. Mississippi State would score two points to stay alive but a kill by Hutson ended the match as Alabama dispatched Mississippi State in just 85 minutes of play time.
Next up, Alabama will host Georgia (11-14, 3-10 SEC) on Sunday, Nov. 16 in Foster Auditorium. The match is set to start at 1 p.m. CT and will be aired live on the SEC Network.