Volleyball loses twice to Georgia in Athens


Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama volleyball players console each other in the Crimson Tide’s five-set loss to the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday, Oct. 22 at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga.

Abby McCreary, Staff Reporter

Alabama volleyball fell to the Georgia Bulldogs (15-5, 6-3) in two hard-fought matches this weekend in Athens, Georgia. On Saturday, the Crimson Tide (7-15, 1-9) almost pulled off a reverse sweep and on Sunday, Alabama lost three close sets.  

For head coach Rashinda Reed, though, playing Georgia was special because she was a Bulldog when she played college volleyball from 2002-2004. 

“It was nice being home and back at my alma mater in the sense that I remember being certain places,” Reed said. “[But] I always talk about being where your feet are, and my feet are with Alabama.” 

Saturday (2-3: 19-25, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 16-18) 

To start off the weekend, both teams came out strong, and neither wanted to give the other a lead. Ultimately, the Crimson Tide allowed the Bulldogs to go on too many scoring runs, and Georgia took the first set and eventually the second. Reed attempted to keep the second set going by challenging a net call in the final point, but she lost and the teams switched sides to prepare for the third set.  

Like the other two, the third set was close. Twelve of the 25 points were tied. At 23-23, though, Alabama earned the two points in a row it needed to win, ending with a kill from outside hitter Sami Jacobs.  

After extending the match, the Crimson Tide brought a new energy into the fourth set. They led the majority of it, and finally managed to put it away due to a Georgia service error.  

Tied at 2-2, the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs entered into the fifth set. 

Both teams fought hard for the win. Although the Crimson Tide was up 8-6 at the halfway point, there were 13 ties total. At 16-16, though, Georgia outside hitters Kacie Evans and Amber Stivrins put away two kills to seal a Bulldog victory.  

Reed said she was impressed with her team’s willingness to win.  

“The first match was a battle of the wills,” Reed said. “Both teams were putting it all out there. A huge point of growth for us was that we battled back all the way to the fifth set.” 

Over the course of the match, middle blocker Alyiah Wells earned the 300th block of her career, and outside hitter Abby Marjama beat her season-high record of aces, reaching a new total of 49. 

Sunday (0-3: 20-25, 22-25, 24-26) 

Although the final score doesn’t show it, Alabama came into the rematch ready to fight. Georgia jumped out to an early lead behind the efforts of Evans and middle blocker Sophie Fischer, but Alabama’s defense didn’t let them pull ahead too far. Outside hitter Kendyl Reaugh and libero Victoria Schmer led the team with some hard-earned digs, but eventually the Bulldogs sealed the set with a kill from Evans. 

Georgia dominated most of the second set. The Bulldogs were up 20-9 before Alabama was able to finally strike back. Several scoring runs helped them bring the score to 20-14, then 22-18, then eventually 23-22. However, Georgia earned their last two points with a kill-ace combo that won them the set despite the Crimson Tide’s late efforts.  

In the third set, Alabama attempted to get ahead early. Nearly halfway through the set, they had a 12-8 lead that the Bulldogs steadily picked at until they took back the lead at 20-19. At 22-19, Reed called a timeout to regroup the team, but once again, Alabama’s efforts came too late. After letting the Bulldogs get to 24-21, the Crimson Tide earned three points in a row including back-to-back aces from Marjama to tie the score at 24-24, but Fischer and Evans put away the final two kills to win the set and the match. 

Reed said that she was hoping to see Saturday’s mindset in Sunday’s rematch. 

“I was disappointed in the second match,” Reed said. “You want to see that same mindset, but it just wasn’t there.” 

Alabama volleyball has a break in their schedule this upcoming week, but will be back in action on Nov. 2 in College Station, Texas, as they take on the Texas A&M Aggies. 

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