By (Ben Boynton)

The University of Alabama volleyball team played nine sets of volleyball on Friday and came away with two wins. They played in a four set match against Northwestern State in the morning and a five set thriller against Southern Miss at night.

Saturday morning, they got a three set sweep.

The Crimson Tide played arguably one of its most complete matches against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, winning a 3-0 match that showcased its offensive and defensive abilities.

“We were touching more balls at that net,” coach Ed Allen said. “We were being extremely aggressive in the backcourt, getting hands on a lot of balls. We’re starting to recognize approach angles and put ourselves in better position to get balls.”

The Crimson Tide held the Mountain Hawks to a hitting percentage of just .176 and came away with six blocks. Lehigh also committed 15 hitting errors to the Crimson Tide’s seven.

“In the backcourt, we didn’t really let anything hit the ground without a body on the floor,” junior outside hitter Kat Hutson said. “We just worked it, and kept giving them something to defend and if they made an error, they made an error.”

The first set featured six ties, but Alabama scored seven straight points to close it out 25-17 after Lehigh cut the Crimson Tide lead to one point. The second set saw seven tie scores, including a late 20-20 tie. From there, the Crimson Tide went on a 5-2 to take the set 25-22 and go up 2-0 in the match.

The third set was the best offensive and defensive set for Alabama. The Mountain Hawks fell behind the Crimson Tide early and never got back into the set. Alabama hit a match high .407 in the third set, while Lehigh posted a .133 hitting percentage, its lowest of the match. The Crimson Tide raced out to a 6-2 lead and never relinquished it, winning the third set 25-15 to earn the sweep.

“I think we ran a pretty balanced offense today,” freshman setter Alexa Tomlak said. “The passing was really good and consistent, and we just kept applying pressure.”

Tomlak saw extended action in the match- as usual setter Shannon Mikesky played just one set. Tomlak played in all three sets, and delivered 26 assists to go with five digs. Redshirt senior middle blocker Krystal Rivers led the team in kills with 14, with Hutson adding 10 for a season-high .562 hitting percentage. The team as a whole hit .375, a season-best mark. Junior Libero Natalie Murison had nine digs to pace Alabama.

Rivers was named the MVP of the Hampton Inn Bama Bash, and Hutson and Murison were both named to the All-Tournament team. The Crimson Tide moves to 8-2 on the season with the three wins on the weekend.

“We’re getting better, which is the goal, to get better each time out,” Allen said. “We have a chance to be really good in December if we continue to get better every week.”

The Crimson Tide takes the court next on Friday as it hosts another tournament. The Hampton Inn Crimson-White Tournament will see Alabama take on East Tennessee State at 7 p.m. Friday night, with a Saturday morning match against Presbyterian and a Saturday night match against Georgia Southern.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports