TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama volleyball used a balanced offensive attack to overcome a set one loss to Arkansas and win three-straight sets to claim the 3-1 victory Sunday at Foster Auditorium.
Alabama (16-10, 5-8 SEC) dropped the first set to Arkansas (5-19, 3-9 SEC), 22-25, but rebounded with 25-14, 25-22 and 25-12 decisions in the next three. A balanced Crimson Tide offensive attack was led by Krystal Rivers with a triple-double, notching 10 kills, 18 digs and a career-high 12 blocks, including four solo and two block assists. She is now 61 kills away from tying Alabama's career record.
Setter Alexa Tomlak finished with 37 assists and 13 digs, good for her second double-double, while Brittany Thomas finished one dig shy of her own with 12 kills and nine digs. Hayley McSparin earned 11 kills from the middle, hitting .526 with just one error on 19 swings. As a team, Alabama posted a season-high 14.0 team blocks while holding the Razorback offense to a .055 clip, including a .000 hitting percentage in the deciding fourth set.
Alabama fell behind early in the first set, 5-2, but the Tide chipped away at the deficit to eventually tie it at 11-11 but could not take the lead, with the Razorbacks leading 15-13 at the media timeout. Alabama tied the score three more times after the break but could not pull ahead with Arkansas holding a two-point lead at the Tide's first team timeout, 20-18. The Razorbacks doubled its lead to 22-18 as the Tide was forced to use its second timeout and the visitors held on to win, 25-22.
Alabama held the early momentum in the second set, leading by as much as five points before Arkansas was forced to take a team timeout trailing 11-6. Later with the Tide leading 14-10, Alabama rattled off four-straight points to double its lead to eight points as Arkansas burned its final timeout trailing 18-10. Alabama closed out the set on a 6-0 run, reaching set point with a double-digit lead and eventually winning 25-14 to even the match at 1-1.
Arkansas started the third set on a 5-1 run and led by the same margin at Alabama's first timeout, 10-6. The Tide drew within one following a 4-1 run, forcing the Razorbacks to take a timeout leading 11-10 with Alabama serving. The Tide eventually took its first lead of the frame at 16-15 and remained in front, eventually pulling ahead 22-19 on a kill by Abolanle Onipede to force an Arkansas timeout. The Tide would hold on to win the set by the same margin, 25-22, to take a 2-1 match lead.
After four tie scores to start the fourth set, Alabama began to pull away with an 8-3 run to lead 15-10 at the media timeout. Two more points made it a seven-point game as Arkansas took its first team timeout and the Tide kept rolling to a nine-point lead at the Razorbacks' second timeout, 21-12. An ace by Quincey Gary gave Alabama a double-digit lead and the Tide closed out the set with three more points to win, 25-12, and take the 3-1 match victory.
Next up, Alabama hosts Auburn (13-12, 7-5 SEC) on Wednesday, Nov. 9 in Foster Auditorium at 5 p.m. CT in Foster Auditorium. The match will be aired live on ESPNU.