Head coach Kerry Messersmith and the UAB volleyball team will conclude regular season play this weekend.
Nov. 14, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – This weekend UAB’s volleyball team will host its final two games of the regular season. The Blazers will play Rice on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. CT and Charlotte on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 12 p.m. CT.
UAB (19-12, 6-6 C-USA) will face Rice for the 15th time. The series is currently tied with each school owning seven wins apiece. Most recently, the Owls were victorious in a tight five-set match over the Blazers on Sept. 23, 2012.
The Blazers will then take on Charlotte on Sunday. It will be the 26th meeting in school history, with UAB holding a 17-8 lead in the series. The Blazers and 49ers have not met since the 2004 season, when Charlotte topped UAB, 3-0.
Individually, UAB has a player ranked in the top 50 nationally in three different categories. Ranking second in digs per set in C-USA is senior libero Rachel Fairbanks. She is averaging 4.95 digs per set, which is 37th in the country.
Sophomore Sam Skinner has continued where she left off her freshman season. Skinner currently ranks 29th in points per set (4.73) and kills per set (4.22). She is third in C-USA rankings in both categories. Junior Sara Rishell leads C-USA in blocks with 1.20 per set.
Scouting the Owls
Rice (9-18, 5-7 C-USA) is coming off of a 3-1 loss to Tulane last Sunday. The Owls are 10th in the C-USA standings heading into this weekend. Jullian Humphrey leads the team with 3.06 kills per set and 1.13 blocks per set. Daniela Arenas leads the defense with 4.25 digs per set.
Scouting the 49ers
Charlotte (12-15, 2-10 C-USA) enters this weekend with two-straight wins over UTEP and East Carolina. The team will host Southern Miss on Friday before making the trek for Sunday’s match. The 49ers are led by Amanda Videmsek, who is averaging 3.43 kills per set. She also leads the team with 0.90 blocks per set. Libero Michelle Hovey currently tops the conference with 5.14 digs per set.
Senior Libero Rachel Fairbanks:
Fairbanks has appeared in 93 matches during her UAB career. She earned the starting libero position as a junior, and since then has cemented her place in the Blazer record books. Last season, Fairbanks set a new school record with 653 digs. This season she set a new career-high of 32 digs against Southern Miss and then matched it against Tulsa. In total, she has amassed 1,330 digs, which ranks ninth all-time and is just four away from moving into eighth.
Senior Setter Becca Howard:
Howard has played in 116 matches in her four years at UAB. She shared the setter role during her first three seasons until taking over as the starter this year. She has had an outstanding season, dishing out 1,008 assists for an average of 11.45 per set. She currently has 2,332 assists in her career, which ranks ninth in UAB history.
Senior Outside Hitter Ally Slaughter:
Slaughter has played in 120 matches in her career at UAB. She has been a staple in the Blazer lineup all four years. She has totaled 748 kills so far as a Blazer. In her senior season, Slaughter leads the team with 36 service aces on the year and is averaging 2.36 points per set.
UAB has already clinched a spot in the Conference USA Tournament before this weekend. The tournament will begin on Thurs., Nov. 21 and run through Sunday, Nov. 24 in Murfreesboro, Tenn.