Oct. 14, 2011
by Koby Padgett
Assistant Media Relations Director
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Despite a double-double from freshman outside hitter Bethanie Thomas, South Carolina (9-9, 0-8 SEC) could not overcome Alabama in front of 788 fans at Foster Auditorium, as the Crimson Tide claimed the win, 25-22, 25-17, 25-23.
Andrea McQuaid topped Alabama with 16 kills and a .471 hitting percentage. Cortney Warren added 14 kills, while Shelbi Goode led all players with 17 digs. Cristina Arenas added 16 digs.
Thomas had 11 kills and 11 digs for her fifth double-double of the year. Sophomore libero Paige Wheeler tallied 16 digs for the Gamecocks.
Alabama claimed the first set, 25-22, behind McQuaid and Warren’s power. The duo posted nine kills for the Crimson Tide in the frame. A three-point stand that included two Warren kills gave Alabama a 16-11 lead. The Gamecocks got three-straight kills from Thomas to get back to within two, but the Tide responded with a run of their own to keep the lead at five. South Carolina got as close as one at 21-20 after a solo block by senior Teresa Stenlund, but a kill and ace from McQuaid put Alabama back up three. Leigh Moyer ended the frame at 25-22 with a solo block.
The Gamecocks held a 13-10 lead in the second set after going on a 7-1 run, but Alabama responded with a 12-2 skein en route to a 25-17 set-two win. McQuaid, Brianne Vande Griend and Warren combined for four kills each in the second. South Carolina gained its lead thanks to three Thomas kills, including the one that gave the team its 13-10 advantage. But Alabama responded from there, posting three-consecutive four-point runs to break away. Goode ended the frame with a kill at 25-17. The Tide hit .295 in the second compared to .053 for the Gamecocks. Wheeler had 11 digs in the second set alone.
Alabama steadily grew its lead in the third set before holding on for a 25-23 win. A three-point string with two kills from Warren put the Tide on top at 7-5. Three-consecutive Gamecock errors handed Alabama a 16-11 lead, forcing a Gamecock timeout. South Carolina got within one at 23-22 after a 6-2 stand that closed on Thomas crossing kill and redshirt freshman outside hitter Cara Howley’s back-row smash. But Alabama held on, getting a tip from Warren and a McQuaid kill to end the frame. The Crimson Tide hit .412 in the final frame to take the victory.
Alabama held a narrow edge in digs, 56-53, and claimed every stat category on the evening.
The Gamecocks close out the western swing on Sunday at Ole Miss. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m. CDT at the Gillom Sports Center.