TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama hit a season-high .322 as a team Tuesday night against Alabama State, sweeping the Lady Hornets for the Crimson Tide's second three-set victory of the season.
Alabama (7-8) hit .322 as a team, marking the second time in the last three matches that the Tide has hit above .300. The 25-12 victory in set two is the largest margin of victory in a set for Alabama this season. Alabama State (6-11) struggled to find a rhythm, hitting .037 as a team, though the Lady Hornets gave the Tide a hard-fought battle in the third set, as there were five tie scores in the frame, which is more than the first two sets combined.
The offensive effort was led by Krystal Rivers, who ended the night with 10 kills and just one error on 15 swings, good for a .600 hitting percentage. Sierra Wilson paced the offense with 37 of the team's 43 assists while Kryssi Daniels and Brittany Thomas led the back-row defense with nine digs each.
Tied at 2-2 early in set one, Alabama would use an 8-3 run to build a five-point lead, 10-5, and maintain the lead at the media timeout, 15-10. The Lady Hornets would draw within three points, trailing 17-14, but the Tide would bounce back to extend its lead back to five points as Alabama State took a timeout trailing 22-17. A kill by Thomas gave the Tide set point, 24-18, and an ace by Natalie Murison ended the set as Alabama won, 25-18.
Four unanswered points early in set two forced the Lady Hornets to take a timeout at 5-1. The visitors would score three straight points out of the break to draw within one but Alabama continued to extend its lead, moving ahead 14-11 just past the halfway point. With Murison at the service line, Alabama gathered strong momentum with 10 straight points, including four kills, two blocks and a service ace, to reach set point at 24-11. An Alabama State kill ended the Tide's consecutive point streak but Rivers ended it on the next rally with a kill to secure the 25-12 set victory and a 2-0 match lead heading into intermission.
The Lady Hornets would keep pace with the Tide early in set three until, tied at 6-6, Alabama tallied five points to build its largest lead of the set. Alabama State continued to fight back, eventually tying the match at 16-16, but Alabama prevented the visitors from taking the lead with three kills and a bad set making it a 20-16 game, forcing the Lady Hornets to take a timeout. Alabama State would again draw within one later, down 21-20, but Alabama held its composure down the stretch to eventually come away with the 25-22 set victory to secure the sweep.
This weekend, Alabama hits the road for a pair of SEC matches, facing Tennessee on Friday, Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. CT and Kentucky on Sunday, Oct. 4 at 12:30 p.m. CT.