Nov. 28, 2014
Alabama (24-7, 12-5 SEC) will wrap up the regular season portion of the schedule on Saturday, Nov. 29, hosting Tennessee (8-23, 1-16 SEC) for a 1 p.m. CT matchup in Foster Auditorium.
– Free Admission
– Senior Night: Caitlin Bernardin and Katherine White
THE TIDE ON THE AIR
Video – SEC Network + (WatchESPN app or WatchESPN.com)
Alabama (24-7, 12-5 SEC) – Alabama will be looking to solidify its bid to the NCAA Tournament in its final match of the regular season, as the Crimson Tide came into the week ranked 28th in the latest NCAA RPI. Alabama is 5-2 in the month of November, most recently coming off a five-set comeback victory against Missouri on Wednesday. Sierra Wilson is now tied for third all-time in career assists, owning 4,166. Her SEC-leading 1,423 assists this season puts her 27 away from her own single-season best of 1,450 set last season. All-SEC honorees Krystal Rivers and Kat Hutson rank first (526, 4.31/set) and fourth (431, 3.68/set) in the conference in kills, respectively. Brittany Thomas posted her 10th double-double of the season in the win over Missouri, as she is third on the team with 314 kills (2.60/set) and second on the team in digs (286, 2.36/set). Leah Lawrence leads the defense at the net with 110 blocks while Natalie Murison leads the back-row defense with 369 digs.
LAST TIME OUT: VOLLEYBALL COMES BACK IN FIVE TO BEAT MISSOURI
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. Another win this season would make it the winningest season in school history. Alabama 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 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.
SINGLE SEASON WIN RECORD
The win over Missouri was the 24th of the season for Alabama, which ties the single-season record for wins. The record was originally set in 1995, when Alabama went 24-10 (7-8 SEC). That record stood for nearly a decade without being matched until last year’s Crimson Tide went 24-10, ultimately falling short of a new record after dropping the regular season finale and the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The combined two-year win total from this season and last season is already the most in any two-year span at Alabama since the program’s reinstatement in 1989.
SATURDAY IS SENIOR NIGHT
On Saturday, Alabama will be celebrating the careers of its two seniors, Katherine White and Caitlin Bernardin. White is a native of Mobile, Ala., and starred at St. Paul’s Episcopal during her prep career before arriving at Alabama in 2011. She has played in 107 matches over her four-year career, tallying a career-high 179 kills during her junior season. Last year, she was named to the Hampton Inn Bama Bash All-Tournament team and the Black Knights Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Bernardin hails from Bakersfield, Calif., and had stops at Point Loma Nazarene and Bakersfield College before arriving in Tuscaloosa for the 2013 season. She has been a steady presence in with the back-row defense for the Tide, appearing in 43 matches over her two seasons at The Capstone. Last season, she played in 32 matches and finished the season with 254 digs, including a career-high 15 against Seton Hal on Aug. 30. This season, she has set a career-high in service aces twice and has played in eight of the Tide’s 24 victories.
RIVERS AND HUTSON NAMED TO ALL-SEC TEAM
The Southeastern Conference has announced its annual volleyball awards to cap the 2014 season, as redshirt sophomore Krystal Rivers and freshman Kat Hutson represent Alabama on the All-SEC Team. It is the first time the Tide have had multiple honorees on the All-SEC team since 2007 when Crystal Hudson was named First Team All-SEC and Bridget Fuentez was named Second Team All-SEC.
This is Rivers’ second career All-SEC award, as she leads the conference in kills (285) and points (320.5) in conference matches this season. She has been named SEC Offensive Player of the Week three times and has posted six double-doubles in conference play so far. Overall, her 500 kills this season are a career-high and rank 11th in Alabama single-season history.
Hutson was named to the All-SEC team and the All-Freshman team, marking the second-straight season an Alabama freshman has made both teams after Rivers did so in 2013. Hutson has the most kills (264) or points (320.5) of any freshman in conference play and is hitting .280 in conference matches, which is the highest percentage of any freshman outside hitter and third overall among all SEC freshman, only trailing Florida’s Rhamat Alhassan and Kentucky’s Kaz Brown, who are both middle blockers. Hutson was named the SEC Freshman of the Week following her strong performances against Arkansas (Oct. 26) and Texas A&M (Oct. 31).
ALABAMA RECEIVING VOTES IN AVCA POLL, NO. 28 IN RPI
Despite a 1-1 weekend, Alabama is still receiving votes in the AVCA coaches’ poll, receiving eight votes to place six spots outside the Top 25. The Crimson Tide moved up one spot in the NCAA RPI to No. 27 after two-straight weeks at No. 28. Alabama is the fourth SEC team on the list, trailing Florida (7), Kentucky (15) and Texas A&M (19).
2014 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
– Alabama set a Foster Auditorium attendance record for the second time this season on Nov. 21, as 2,169 fans packed in to watch Alabama defeat Auburn, 3-1. This beats the previous record of 1,749 set earlier this season on Sept. 28 against LSU. Alabama has set a new attendance record three times since Ed Allen became head coach in 2011.
– Junior setter Sierra Wilson surpassed 4,000 career assists during the four-set victory over Auburn on Nov. 21, becoming just the fourth athlete in Alabama history to do so.
– The sweep over Georgia on Sunday, Nov. 16 marked the 10th home victory of the season for Alabama, giving the Tide three-straight seasons with at least 10 wins at home.
– Alabama’s 3-2 win over South Carolina on Nov. 9 was the team’s 20th of the season, giving the Tide back-to-back 20 win seasons for the first time since 2004-05 and just the fourth time in program history.
– Alabama defeated No. 23 Texas A&M, 3-2, on Oct. 31, earning the team’s first Top 25 win since 2007 and the team’s first Top 25 win over an SEC opponent since 2006.
– Kat Hutson was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Nov. 3 for her performance against Texas A&M. It was her first career weekly conference honor and the fourth overall for Alabama this season.
– Krystal Rivers was named Preseason All-SEC, earned back-to-back SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 22 and Sept. 29 and then a third time on Oct. 27.
– Alabama received Top 25 votes for the first time in school history on Sept. 29, appearing five spots outside the Top 25 in the Week Five AVCA poll.
– The Tide won three tournament titles during the preseason, winning the Marcia E. Hamilton Classic on opening weekend in St. Louis, the ISTAP Collegiate Cup 2 in Montgomery, Ala., and the Crimson-White Tournament in Tuscaloosa.
– Alabama returns nine players from last year’s squad while welcoming eight newcomers.
NEXT TIME OUT: NCAA TOURNAMENT
Alabama will await the announcement of its NCAA Tournament destination, as the NCAA Volleyball Selection Show will air live on ESPNU on Sunday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. CT.