Foster offers home court advantage

Kayla Montgomery

To Krystal Rivers, the energy in Foster Auditorium is contagious.

In the Alabama volleyball team’s home opening sweep of the UAB Blazers Tuesday night, the redshirt sophomore said the team fed off the energy of the crowd and went on to play one of its best matches this season. The Tide beat the in-state opponent by an average margin of 9.6 points per set, and defeated the Blazers 25-11 in the second set, which tied the largest margin of victory this season. 

“It’s a great atmosphere at home,” Rivers said. “We have great fans and we’re able to feed off their energy, so getting a chance to let them come see us for a few matches over a short period of time will be great.”

This weekend, the Crimson Tide will again draw on its home court advantage as it hosts the Crimson-White Tournament. Matches will begin Friday when the team tips off against Florida International at noon, followed by a match against San Diego State at 7 p.m. The tournament will conclude Saturday night, when Alabama takes on Clemson at 7 p.m.

Coach Ed Allen said the competition this weekend will serve as a strong precursor to SEC play, which begins for the Crimson Tide next week with a road trip to the University of Georgia.

“They are three teams that are going to do very well within their leagues and have played competitive schedules to this point,” Allen said. “They’re probably the perfect type of teams that you want to face going into league play. It will be good to have them at home and be able to feed off the crowd and use that energy as well, and hopefully we’ll have a pretty good crowd after the football game on Saturday.”

Energy has been a big theme for the Alabama team this year, as it is currently starting four new players. Junior setter Sierra Wilson said each of the new players brings an energy all their own to the team.

“There’s a lot of energy, excitement and enthusiasm coming from the younger players, especially since it’s their first time playing home matches, playing college matches,” Wilson said. “I think we have a really good balance with our upperclassmen. We have a good leadership foundation to really shape our younger players and steer them in the right direction.”