BATON ROUGE, La. -- Down 2-1 in the match, Alabama volleyball broke out with two of its top offensive performances of the season to win sets four and five, completing the five-set comeback victory over LSU on the road Sunday afternoon.
Alabama (9-11, 3-3 SEC) hit a combined .243 over the first three sets before hitting .529 and .533 in the final two sets, the Tide's two highest set totals of the season. Tied at 13-13 in set four, Alabama would close out the match with a dominating 27-7 run to win by scores of 25-16 and 15-4. The Tide was led offensively by Kat Hutson and Krystal Rivers with 21 kills each, as the pair hit .487 and .349, respectively. Sierra Wilson paced the offense with 63 assists, her fourth 60-plus assist performance of the season, which puts her just 349 shy of the Alabama career record. Natalie Murison passed for 23 digs, just two shy of her season high, while Rivers and Kryssi Daniels both earned double-digit digs as well.
LSU (8-10, 4-3 SEC) hit .226 in the match and was led by Gina Tillis with 19 kills, while Cati Leak posted a double-double with 11 kills and 13 digs.
The two teams traded the lead back and forth in the opening half of set one, with neither taking more than a two-point lead until LSU pulled ahead by three at the media timeout, 15-12. A quick 3-1 run out of the break extended the Tigers' lead to 18-13 as the Tide was forced to take its first timeout but LSU continued to charge ahead, eventually moving up 22-15 as Alabama took its final timeout. The lead held down the stretch, as LSU won 25-18.
Alabama scored the first point of set two and aside from three tie scores, the Tide remained in front all the way to the media timeout, leading 15-13. The Tigers would draw within one, down 16-15, but kills by Laura Steiner and Rivers gave Alabama a three-point lead as LSU took a timeout down 18-15. Alabama held onto its three-point lead down the stretch, up 23-20 as LSU took its final timeout. The Tide reached set point on a kill by Steiner, 24-21, but LSU would score a point to draw within two and regain possession as Alabama took a timeout. Another kill by Steiner out of the break would end it however, as the Tide won, 25-22, to even the match at 1-1.
Tied at 6-6 in set three, LSU would score four unanswered point to pull ahead 10-6 and force Alabama to take its first timeout. Each team scored four points as the lead remained the same, 15-11, but the Tide then started to chip away at the deficit, eventually fighting back to tie it at 18-18 as the Tigers took a timeout. Tied at 20-20, LSU would score three straight points to take a late 23-20 lead as Alabama took a timeout. Each team would score one point before a kill by LSU's Gina Tillis ended it in the Tigers' favor, 25-22, to give them a 2-1 match advantage.
The two teams battled back and forth to open set four, as it was knotted up at 12-12. Alabama was very efficient on offense, going error-free until the 13-point mark and holding a 15-13 lead at the media timeout. Alabama extended its lead with a 6-1 run, capped by three-straight kills by Hutson, as the Tide led 21-14 at LSU's second timeout. Alabama would close out the set with three unanswered points to win, 25-16, and force a deciding fifth set.
The momentum carried into the fifth set, as Alabama opened the frame with four unanswered points before LSU scored to make it 4-1. Alabama's lead continued to grow, as the Tide led 8-2 at the halfway point and added two more to make it 10-2 as LSU took a timeout. The Tide continued to roll as they won, 15-4, and complete the comeback victory.
Next weekend, Alabama returns home for a pair of SEC matches, starting with Kentucky (13-5, 6-0 SEC) on Friday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. CT. On Sunday, Oct. 25, the Tide will take on the Georgia Bulldogs (5-12, 0-5 SEC) at 2 p.m. CT live on the SEC Network.