Alabama volleyball sweeps UGABy Kayla Montgomery | 11/16/2014 11:09pm
The Alabama Crimson Tide volleyball team is 22-6 with four games remaining in the season. CW | Layton Dudley
With only four matches left in the regular season, the Alabama Crimson Tide volleyball team (22-6) is rolling towards a new record for season wins. On Sunday, the team swept Georgia at home in Foster Auditorium, moving one game closer to the 24-game all-time record.
“The focus this week has been taking care of the ball and eliminating errors, and I thought we did a really good job of that. We created pressure at the service line, and we defended better,” coach Ed Allen said. “It was one of those situations where I don’t think we could have played a whole lot better than what we did. Because of the pressure we were able to place on them at the service line, we got a lot of easy points.”
Alabama surged to 10-4 lead in Sunday’s first set, forcing Georgia to take its first timeout of the set. The Crimson Tide continued to build this lead, topping the Bulldogs by 10 points as Alabama hit the 20-point mark, and off of a service ace from Leah Lawrence, Alabama wrapped a convincing first set 25-13, with a team hitting percentage of .346 to Georgia’s 0.
Despite a close start to set two, Alabama dominated the second set as well. A kill by Kat Hutson sealed the set for Alabama 25-15, again beating the visitors with double-digits.
Again in set three, close opening play gave way to a growing Alabama lead, as a service ace by Hutson put the home-team up 15-9 midway through the set, and a kill by Brittany Thomas set Alabama up with its first match point. The Bulldogs refused to surrender, though, rallying back and stripping the Alabama of three match points before it took a timeout. After the break, a kill by Rivers secured the set for Alabama, 25-21, and the match.
Hutson, who hit 10 kills in the match, said the team focused on their own high-caliber game rather than the performance of Georgia, and that the group has grown tremendously since the beginning of the season.
“We definitely had a lot of energy, and I’m really proud of the way we came out,” Hutson said. “Having so many freshmen come in—so many new faces, including myself—at first we were walking on egg shells a little because it was a completely new program for us and we were completely new players to them, but it’s like we’ve been here together for four years already.”
With only four matches left, senior Caitlin Bernardin said that the team is looking to continue improving and building momentum for post-season play.
“I think from a team perspective, every match is important to us, and we go out there giving it our best,” Bernardin said. “We’re definitely competing to go above and beyond our level of play every time we step out, and continue to get better and continue to work towards our goals as a team.”