Volleyball falls twice against Ole Miss in Oxford

Abby McCreary, Staff Reporter

The Alabama volleyball program went 0-2 this weekend against The University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi. The Crimson Tide took a total of two sets over the two matches, showing potential for a team that has yet to claim a conference win.  

“I’m always disappointed when we lose,” head coach Rashinda Reed said. “But there’s always positive things to take from that.” 

Friday (1-3: 27-25, 20-25, 15-25, 22-25) 

Alabama started the weekend off strong with a win in its first set, but then quickly fell in the next three, losing the first match 1-3.  

Led by outside hitter Abby Marjama’s serves, the Crimson Tide jumped to an early lead in the first set thanks to a 7-0 run that brought the score to 8-2. Alabama maintained the lead with a .262 first-set hitting percentage, but once it hit 22 points, Ole Miss rallied. 

The Rebels went on a 10-1 scoring run to take a 24-23 lead. At Ole Miss set point, Alabama managed to bring the match to a tie with an Ole Miss error. The Rebels once again brought the match to set point, but the Crimson Tide responded with three kills in a row from Marjama and middle blocker Alyiah Wells to win the set 27-25. 

Although Alabama maintained good leads for the other three sets, it allowed Ole Miss to go on too many scoring runs, ranging anywhere from four points to nine. In the third set, the Rebels took advantage of Crimson Tide attack errors to win the set on a 5-0 run.  

While Alabama finished the match with a .116 hitting percentage, the team averaged .054 during the last three sets.  

“Ultimately I felt like we battled all the way through,” Reed said. “It’s just eliminating unforced errors and executing game plan.” 

Attack errors are still an issue for the Crimson Tide, but the team shines bright behind the service line. Marjama finished with three service aces, and setter Emily Janek — filling in for setter Brooke Slusser, who’s out with an injury — finished with two.  

Despite the loss, Alabama shows that it starts well. This is the team’s third conference match where it has won its first set only to lose the next three. Reed said the team is working on developing that consistency throughout the match. 

“It’s about executing game plan all the way through, from start to finish,” Reed said. “That’s something we still need to improve.” 

Saturday (1-3: 23-25, 20-25, 25-23, 16-25) 

Alabama dropped its first two sets on Saturday afternoon before winning the third to extend the match. It eventually lost the fourth set as well to lose the match 1-3.  

The first set started off with a kill from Ole Miss middle blocker Sasha Ratliff. From there, the Rebels quickly took a 6-1 lead. Although Alabama stayed close behind and even tied the set at 17-17 with a kill from outside hitter Kendyl Reaugh, the Rebels eventually won the set 25-23.  

Wells took the first point of set two, but Ole Miss responded with three of its own and led the rest of the set. While the Crimson Tide was able to string a couple of points together in a row, ultimately the Rebels had too many rallies for the Crimson Tide to recover. 

In the third set, Alabama was faced with a choice — win or go home — and so the Crimson Tide won. Outside hitter Sami Jacobs scored the first point of the match, and from there, Alabama jumped to an early 8-4 lead. The Crimson Tide used the momentum to finally outnumber the Ole Miss rallies with their own, and libero Taylor Drapp’s service ace brought her team to a 22-15 lead. The Rebels attempted a comeback with a five-point scoring run, but Alabama outlasted them and sealed the 25-23 win with a kill from Marjama.  

While Alabama started the fourth set strong with a 3-0 lead, Ole Miss led the majority of the rest of the match. A mid-set 8-0 Ole Miss scoring run gave the Rebels enough of a lead to eventually win the set 25-16.  

Alabama’s 1-3 loss is disappointing, but not entirely disheartening. The third set rally sheds light on a team that isn’t willing to go down without a fight. They improved from their Friday hitting percentage of .116 to a respectable .194 on Saturday afternoon. The Crimson Tide also tallied a total of eight aces between five players.  

Reed said that she saw both good and bad on the court this weekend.  

“I felt like we both did and did not execute game plan,” Reed said. “They were doing the things that we scouted and now it’s just seeing that information translate onto the court.” 

Alabama will continue the search for its first conference win on Wednesday, Oct. 12, in Tuscaloosa against The University of Missouri. The match starts at 6 p.m. CT in Foster Auditorium.

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