Foster Auditorium was packed Sunday afternoon for Alabama’s volleyball match against rival Auburn.
There were many people in crimson and white, and there many were people in navy blue and orange, but only one team came out with a 3-0 victory as the Crimson Tide swept the Tigers in its annual Iron Bowl.
Senior Sierra Wilson said it felt unbelievable.
“It’s always great to beat Auburn as Alabama fans,” she said.
The rivalry only fueled the energy that’s already normally present in Foster Auditorium. Wilson thought there was a lot of energy on both sides of the court.
Alabama normally approaches each team as just another match to face but with Auburn, it’s inevitable to think a little differently.
“There’s a little bit of a different mindset given the intensity of the rivalry,” she said.
The first two sets were very similar. At the beginning of each, the two teams were back-and-forth with taking a one-point lead only to have the opponent tie it up the following point. Alabama would take the lead and hold it once its score got into double digits.
“We came out and played with a lot of energy and I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that we were playing Auburn,” coach Ed Allen said.
He was really happy with how the team played during the second half of each of those two sets.
It won set one, 25-16, and set two, 25-20.
“I’m so proud of the way we played,” junior Krystal Rivers said. “We completed and we stayed steady and fought.”
In those first two sets, River led the team with 10 kills, hitting 0.364.
The third set looked to be going in favor of Auburn at first. The Tigers held a cushioned lead over the Crimson Tide and was ahead 18-13.
Alabama kept cutting away at the score deficit but was down 23-20 towards the end when it called a timeout.
“I was really pleased with how we battled, really pleased with how we came back after being down,” Allen said.
After the timeout, a kill by both Wilson and Rivers, followed by a service ace by sophomore Leah Lawrence allowed Alabama to tie it up at 23-23. Back-to-back kills by River finished it off for Alabama
“It was great because we hadn’t done that throughout the season,” Rivers said. “We’d let teams get leads and run with them but we were able to stay steady and just play our game.”
Throughout the three matches, the two teams were tied up 22 times and had nine lead changes. Alabama hit 0.281 as a team and finished with six blocks, 38 kills and 41 digs.
Rivers led the team with a total of 15 kills, hitting 0.364. Sophomore Kat Hutson followed with 11 kills, hitting 0.276. Wilson finished with 32 assists at setter, and sophomore Natalie Murison finished with 13 digs at libero.
After getting swept by the Florida Gators on the road Friday and coming home to sweep Auburn on Sunday, the Crimson Tide is now 14-14, 8-6 SEC.
“It’s huge to play as well as what we played against anybody,” Allen said. “When it’s against Auburn, it makes it sweeter for everybody.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports