Volleyball goes 0-2 on Friday in Fort Worth

Abby McCreary, Staff Reporter

For the third week in a row, Alabama volleyball went 0-2 on their opening day of an away tournament. Six lost sets were broken up by a single win, a nail-biting opening set against their hosts, Texas Christian University. The Crimson Tide also played The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. 

“We were trying to stay competitive throughout but it’s just cleaning up unforced errors,” head coach Rashinda Reed said.  

Louisiana-Lafayette (0-3: 12-25, 19-25, 17-25) 

Alabama lost in straight sets to Louisiana-Lafayette Friday afternoon. They had a season-low .036 hitting percentage, tallying 28 kills to Louisiana’s 39. The serves just didn’t fall the way they have all season, with Alabama only scoring two aces with six errors.  

“We weren’t ready,” Reed said. “There wasn’t a sense of urgency.” 

The first set opened with an 8-0 Louisiana scoring run that was ended by a kill from Alyiah Wells. From there, they only came within seven points of the Ragin’ Cajuns, eventually losing the set 25-12.  

The second set was much closer, with Alabama taking a 10-6 lead under the serving direction of Wells. But the Crimson Tide couldn’t maintain it, letting the Ragin’ Cajuns take too many scoring runs that resulted in a 4-0 run to lose the set 25-19.  

The Crimson Tide took a lead in the third set as well, but couldn’t find a rhythm, falling 25-17. 

Outside hitter Maddy McCormick — who made her Crimson Tide debut with Micah Gryniewicz out with a left foot injury — says her goal was to just get the team going again. 

“The times I went in we were struggling,” McCormick said. “My mindset was just to go in and help the team and get us out of this little funk.” 

TCU (1-3: 35-33, 14-25, 23-25, 16-25) 

Despite a nail-biting first set, Alabama lost their second match of the day against their hosts, TCU, in four sets. 

It looked like the match was going to be a continuation of the afternoon’s game, with Alabama trailing by as many as six points in the first set. TCU was first on the board with a service ace from outside hitter Audrey Nalls. They quickly gained a healthy lead with the help of middle blocker Zoe Hall, who had three kills and a block to start off the match. 

However, Alabama rallied at the end and went on a 4-point run to go from 18-22 to tie the game. Alabama swung hard and tied it up each time until Brooke Slusser finally secured the first lead for Alabama with an ace that clipped the net and fell untouched onto the TCU side of the court.  

Neither the Horned Frogs nor the Crimson Tide relented, with both teams taking aggressive swings at the net. Eventually, the Horned Frogs just couldn’t handle a kill from Reaugh, giving the Crimson Tide a 34-33 lead and the serve to Slusser.  

As Slusser’s ball soared over the net, it was on its way out, but TCU couldn’t get out of the way in time. The serve hit a TCU player before it could hit the floor, ending the long opening set with an ace.  

Slusser’s second ace of the match won the set 35-33 for Alabama, the highest-scoring set of the Crimson Tide’s season.  

“That first set was definitely a battle,” McCormick said. “It was super competitive and definitely a step up from the match we had earlier today. We were playing very clean volleyball.” 

It went downhill from there.  

Once again, TCU took the first point of the set, and Alabama couldn’t take a lead until Reaugh sent a kill over the net to bring the score to 6-5.  

That was their only lead for the rest of the set, allowing as much as a 10-point deficit before falling 14-25 to take the match to a 1-1 tie.  

Coach Reed says the first set showed improvement from the Louisiana match, but she was hoping for more in the second set.  

“It [the first set] did set the tone in the sense we are doing what we talked about, so let’s keep it going,” Reed said. “I think it helped us out, but it’s more about us staying consistent the entire match.” 

Alabama scored first in the third set with a kill from Wells. The Ragin’ Cajuns kept up, though, staying neck-and-neck throughout the set, which was tied for 20 of the 25 points. McCormick tied the game multiple times with well-placed kills, but TCU just outhit the Crimson Tide. Their final two points of the set were powerful kills that Alabama couldn’t bounce back from, resulting in a 23-25 loss that gave TCU a 2-1 lead.  

The Crimson Tide trailed TCU for the rest of the match, letting the Horned Frogs go on several scoring runs that only strengthened their lead. A promising kill-then-ace combo from Wells looked like the tide could be turning for Alabama, but TCU just took another 4-point run.  

Coach Reed challenged TCU points and called timeouts to attempt to slow down the set, but it only prolonged the loss. The Crimson Tide lost the set 16-25 with a kill from TCU outside hitter Julia Adams, her 18th of the night.  

Kendyl Reaugh had the most kills of the night on either side of the net with 20, a career high.  

Coach Reed says that she’ll be looking for less unforced errors tomorrow. 

“We gave them essentially two sets. There were 50 unforced errors there that we can’t have,” Reed said. “We can’t give a team that many points. Other than that, we did a great job being competitive and staying in it. We took some risks, but we need to manage the ball better.” 

The Crimson Tide play their final match of the Horned Frog Tournament tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. CT against Texas State University.

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]