Alabama Volleyball’s Krystal Rivers Makes Program History
Redshirt sophomore Krystal Rivers has made program history, becoming Alabama’s first ever player to be named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Third Team All-America list, announced Wednesday.
Alabama’s seven All-America honors prior to this season have all been as honorable mentions, including Rivers last season. This year, freshman Kat Hutson and Sierra Wilson were both named Honorable Mention All-Americans. All three were named to the AVCA All-South Region team earlier this season as well.
Rivers and Wilson are also the only players in Crimson Tide history to be named All-Americans and Academic All-Americans in the same season. Wilson was named a First Team Academic All-American while Rivers was named a Third Team Academic All-American.
Alabama’s three honorees this season ties the single-season record set last season when Rivers, Wilson and Brittany Thomas were all Honorable Mention All-Americans. Six of Alabama’s 10 All-American awards in program history have come within the past two seasons.
Krystal Rivers improved on her stellar 2013 campaign with an even more impressive season in 2014. After a successful battle against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in the offseason off the court, Rivers made the switch from middle blocker to right side hitter on the court and the offensive numbers skyrocketed. Rivers led the team and the SEC with 557 kills (4.19/set) and was second on the team with a .290 hitting percentage. Her 557 kills rank eighth all-time at Alabama and makes her the first player with over 500 kills in a season since Erin Heffner in 2004. Rivers was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week three times during the season and earned a spot on the All-SEC team.
Sierra Wilson set a new Alabama single-season record in 2014 with 1,529 assists, becoming the first player in school history with over 1,500 assists in a single-season. She led the SEC in assists and ranked among the top ten nationally in the category for the majority of the season as well. The record season brings her career total to 4,272, which is third all-time at Alabama. With one season remaining at Alabama, she is just 61 shy of Jennifer Miller (1989-92) in second place and 1,306 shy of Brigitte Slack’s (2004-07) record total.
Kat Hutson had a breakout freshman campaign for the Tide in 2014, starting as the outside hitter in 30 of the team’s 34 matches this season. She was second on the team in kills (475) and points (524.5), trailing only Rivers in both categories. Her 475 kills are the fourth-most for any freshman in Alabama history and are the most since Nina Foster earned 738 kills as a freshman in 1994. Hutson averaged 3.92 kills-per-set in conference play, helping earn her All-SEC honors and a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team. She was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Nov. 3 for her excellent performance in the Tide’s big win over No. 23 Texas A&M on Halloween night.
Alabama set a new single-season record for wins in 2014, finishing the year at 26-8. A win in the regular season finale gave Alabama the record, beating the previous best of 24 set originally in 1994 and matched in 2013. The Tide qualified for its second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, marking the first time since 2006-07 that Alabama has made back-to-back postseason appearances. Alabama opened tournament play with a gutsy 3-2 win over Samford for the first NCAA Tournament win in school history. The Tide finished one win shy of a Sweet 16 berth however, as they fell to No. 6 Florida State in the Tallahassee final.