Redshirt senior middle blocker Krystal Rivers did not play her best offensive match of the year against Arkansas on Sunday afternoon. She hit for a season-low hitting percentage. In fact, she hit .000 on the day. She wasn’t her typical self, but she found other ways to contribute.
Rivers posted a triple-double with 10 kills, 18 digs and a career-high 12 blocks, and Alabama snapped a four-match losing streak by defeating Arkansas, 3-1, at home in Foster Auditorium.
“I was off offensively, so you’ve got to find other ways to pick your game up,” Rivers said. “When things aren’t going well you have to find another way and I think I did a good job of doing that. With me not producing offensively, the rest of the team picked up on those areas, so I had room to pick up [my game] defensively.”
The Crimson Tide hit just .181 but held the Razorbacks to a hitting percentage of .055. Arkansas’ best offensive performance came in the first set, when it hit .122 and won the set, 25-22.
In the remaining three sets, Alabama held the Razorbacks to hitting percentages of .000, .077 and .000. In doing so, the Crimson Tide won by scores of 25-14, 25-22 and 25-12.
“We did a good job taking the balls they gave us and making things difficult for them,” coach Ed Allen said.
Offensively, the Crimson Tide did not have its best overall performance, but it did have a more balanced attack than usual. Rivers averages 23 kills per match, but only had 10 in the match. Senior outside hitter Brittany Thomas led the team with 12 kills, and freshman outside hitter Hayley McSparin had 11. Senior middle blocker Leah Lawrence was one kill short of being the fourth Alabama player with double-digit kills, finishing with nine. Freshman setter Alexa Tomlak, starting in place of injured redshirt freshman Shannon Mikesky, had her second career double-double, finishing with 37 assists and 13 digs.
“It was good to have such balance on the court,” Thomas said. “I think that does a lot for the players, the hitters and their morale, and we were able to lift up one another.”
The Crimson Tide finished with 14 team blocks and controlled the net for most of the match. Five different players recorded blocks, led by Rivers with her 12 and junior middle blocker Leah Lawrence’s eight.
“I thought we did a good job of picking up the scrappy stuff they were handing us and locking in on the swings that were tough for them,” Thomas said.
Alabama improves to 16-10 on the year, 5-8 in the SEC. It has a short week in front of it, as Auburn comes to Foster Auditorium on Wednesday at 5 p.m. That match is one of the two remaining home matches the Crimson Tide has in the season, and Rivers said the team is determined to make them count.
“We came into this match with three matches left at home, and we said we wanted to make the best matches that we could play here,” Rivers said. “It wasn’t our best match, but Coach [Allen] said in the locker room that we found a way and that’s what it’s about is finding a way. Whenever you have these types of matches and you find a way it makes them that much more special.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports