TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama won its third straight match Sunday afternoon, defeating South Carolina, 3-1, at Foster Auditorium.
Alabama (13-13, 7-5 SEC) battled back from a loss in the first set to South Carolina (10-14, 3-10 SEC), 25-16, to win three consecutive sets 25-20, 25-19 and 25-23 for the four-set victory. This gives Alabama a three-match winning streak for the first time this season.
Krystal Rivers had a match high 24 kills to go along with a stellar .404 hitting percentage. Bruna Evangelista took advantage of her ninth start of the season, hitting .300 with nine kills in the middle while Kat Hutson was second on the team with 19 kills and a team-leading three blocks. Sierra Wilson tallied 54 assists along with 6 digs, moving her just 53 assists shy of the Alabama career record.
Alabama's early 4-2 lead in the first set was quickly erased by a 5-0 South Carolina run, giving the visitors a 7-4 advantage. Later, a kill by Hutson brought Alabama within two points, 10-8, but three-straight kills from the Gamecocks made it a 13-8 game as the Tide took its first timeout. The teams traded two points each and a South Carolina block extended the visitor's lead to 16-10 as Alabama quickly burned its final timeout. Each team scored four points to make it 20-14 and a 4-1 run by the Gamecocks gave them set point, 24-15. A kill by Hutson extended the set but South Carolina answered back with a kill in the next rally to win, 25-16.
Tied at 2-2 early in set two, a kill by Rivers gave the Tide the lead and Alabama would remain in front for the rest of the frame. South Carolina took its first timeout following a 4-0 Alabama run, capped by an Evangelista kill, as the Tide led 9-4. Alabama held on to its five-point lead through the middle of the set, leading 18-13 as the Gamecocks took a second timeout. Two more points out of the break extended the lead to 20-13 and the lead remained the same at set point, 24-17. South Carolina scored three straight points to hold off the Tide and reach 20 points, but a kill by Hutson sealed the set victory, 25-20, to even the match at 1-1.
Seven tie scores early in set three had the teams tied at 9-9 before the Tide rattled off four unanswered points to take the lead, 13-9, as South Carolina took a timeout. Alabama continued to pull away, leading 20-14 at South Carolina's second timeout to take its largest lead of the set. Alabama reached set point by the same margin, 24-18, and after a service error Rivers scored a kill on the next rally to win, 25-19, and take a 2-1 advantage.
The fourth set was the most tightly-contested of the match with eight tie scores throughout. South Carolina held the early advantage but, trailing 10-8, Alabama took the lead with a 5-2 run as the Gamecocks took a timeout with the score at 13-11. South Carolina would eventually rally to tie the set back up at 17-17 and after three more tie scores, Alabama gained a two-point lead thanks to back-to-back kills by Brittany Thomas and Rivers as South Carolina took a timeout trailing 22-20. A pair of kills by the Gamecocks out of the break quickly tied it back up, 22-22, as Alabama took its first timeout of the set. After trading one point each to make the score 23-23, a kill by Hutson gave the Tide match point and another kill by the sophomore sealed the 25-23 set victory and the 3-1 match win.
Next up, Alabama will have a split road and home weekend, first heading to Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators (17-4, 9-3 SEC) on Friday, Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. CT. The Tide then turns around and heads home for a home match on Sunday, Nov. 15 against Auburn (12-10, 4-6 SEC) at 3 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.