UAB Concludes Non-Conference Play At Bruin Classic

UABSPORTS.COM Senior libero Rachel Fairbanks leads the team in digs (193) and tied for first in aces (13).
Senior libero Rachel Fairbanks leads the team in digs (193) and tied for first in aces (13).

Sept. 19, 2013

UAB (10-3) vs. Arkansas State (4-7)
Friday, Sept. 20 at 4:00 p.m. CT
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UAB (10-3) vs. Mississippi State (7-4)
Saturday, Sept. 21 at 10:00 a.m. CT

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UAB (10-3) at Belmont (4-9)
Saturday, Sept. 21 at 6:00 p.m. CT

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UAB volleyball team (10-3) will travel to Nashville, Tenn. for its final regular season tournament, the Bruin Classic, from Friday, Sept. 20 through Saturday, Sept. 21. It will conclude the team’s three-week road-stint as the Blazers begin conference play at home next week. 

In the first match, the Blazers will face Arkansas State (4-7) at 4 p.m. on Friday. It will be the ninth time that the two teams have played each other with the series tied at 4-4. The last meeting came in 2011, when UAB edged the Red Wolves 3-2. Sadie Clark leads Arkansas State with 123 kills, while Kelsey Sullivan has been strong at the net with 0.93 blocks per set and 97 kills. 

The Blazers have a long history with Mississippi State (7-4), having met 27 times in school history with the first meeting dating back to the 1979 season. Saturday’s 10 a.m. match will be the first time the two teams have played since 2004, when the Bulldogs defeated UAB 3-0. Leading Mississippi State’s attack is Kimmy Gardiner (163 kills) and Taylor Scott (104 kills). Defensively, Roxanne McVey has 244 digs and Chelsea Duhs has 30 blocks. 

UAB will play tournament-host Belmont (4-9) on Saturday at 6 p.m. It marks the third meeting between the Blazers and Bruins, with the series tied 1-1. The Green and Gold won the last meeting 3-0 in 2007. Belmont has three hitters with over 100 kills so far this season, Jessica Vestal (177), Scarlet Gable (141) and Allison McCoy (110). 



Blazer Blocking Brigade
In the latest NCAA rankings, UAB is sixth in the nation in blocks as a team. The Blazers are averaging 3.05 blocks per set so far this season. UAB’s 122 blocks are the most in Conference USA and 24 more than the next closest team.

Leading UAB at the net is junior Sara Rishell. She currently holds an average of 1.50 blocks per set. This past week, Rishell had a career-best eight blocks in two of UAB’s four matches.

UAB in 2013 Tournament Action
The Blazers have competed in three tournaments so far in 2013, finishing second in all three. UAB co-hosted the UAB/Samford Challenge, where it finished 3-1 to tie with Samford as both teams lost to No. 6 Minnesota. Senior Becca Howard and sophomore Sam Skinner were selected to the All-Tournament team.

At the Middle Tennessee Invitational, UAB defeated North Dakota and Austin Peay to set up a championships match with Virginia Tech. The Blazers took the first set, but the Hokies rallied back to win the next three and close out the tournament win. Juniors Kiriana Hirini and Sara Rishell earned all-tournament team honors for their performances. 

Last weekend, UAB traveled to Bloomington, Ind. for the Hoosier Classic where it finished 2-1 once again. The Blazers grabbed a 3-0 win over Tennessee State and then took an exciting five-set victory over Wyoming to set up a championship match with Indiana. A tough Hoosiers team took the win, 3-0. Skinner and Howard earned their second all-tournament team selection.

For the latest news on Blazer sports, follow the UAB Athletics Twitter account: @UABathletics. For volleyball news, follow @UAB_VB.

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