Volleyball walks away with first road win at Texas A&M


Courtesy of UA Athletics

Head coach Rashinda Reed and the Alabama volleyball team smiles during a huddle in the Crimson Tide’s win over the Texas A&M Aggies on Nov. 2 at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas.

Abby McCreary, Staff Reporter

On Wednesday night, Alabama volleyball walked into Reed Arena ready to challenge the Texas A&M Aggies on their home court. 

Walking away with a 3-1 victory, head coach Rashinda Reed and her Crimson Tide team made sure the Aggies knew who owned that arena.  

“I always love a dub,” Reed said. “We took the things we talked about at practice and made that transition into the match, and those things paid off.” 

The win against the Aggies (12-11, 4-8) doubles as the team’s first road victory and as the first match after a bye week. Reed said that the chance to reset and go back to the basics during that week was reflected in the win.  

During the bye week, the Crimson Tide (8-15, 2-9) especially focused on the technicalities of its defense, and the most noticeable change on Wednesday night was defense specialist Sydney Gholson sporting the libero jersey. 

“That was an area we really wanted to ramp up,” Reed said. “Over the course of the season, she’s [Gholson] been progressing defensively. It bodes well for us to move her into libero so we can get more production defensively. It was noticeable today.” 

The Crimson Tide didn’t start with a lot of energy. Its first two serves were service errors and Texas A&M setter Elena Karakasi used trick sets to tally her own kills against the Alabama defense. At 14-14, though, outside hitter Sami Jacobs claimed a kill to give the Crimson Tide a narrow lead at the media timeout. 

After the timeout, the Aggies scored four points in a row, prompting Reed to call a timeout of her own. The run didn’t end, though, until a Texas A&M service error, bringing the score to 21-16. Alabama couldn’t take advantage of the momentum swing until an attack error at Texas A&M set point. The Crimson Tide tallied five points before Aggie outside hitter Caroline Meuth secured the final point — Texas A&M won the first set 25-22. 

In the second set, the Crimson Tide jumped to an early 10-7 lead thanks to three back-to-back aces from Jacobs, forcing an early Texas A&M timeout. The Aggies took the next point with another trick set from Karakasi.  

The set stayed close, but outside hitter Abby Marajama’s performance behind the service line helped Alabama to a 22-19 lead. At that point, the Aggies’ powerful duo of Meuth and opposite hitter Logan Lednicky — plus yet another Karakasi trick kill — combined to tie the score at 22-22.  

The Crimson Tide refused to give another set away, though, and won 26-24 with a kill and block assist from middle blocker Chaise Campbell to score the final two points to tie the match 1-1. 

The Aggies were the first to score in the third set, but Alabama didn’t let their points tally up. The Crimson Tide went on an early 10-2 scoring run that opened up into an 18-10 lead, the largest point margin in the match. However, the Aggies, led by Meuth and Lednicky, came back and tied the match 22-22. Alabama gave them just one more before outside hitter Kendyl Reaugh pushed a kill through the Texas A&M blockers, winning 25-23.  

In the fourth set, the Aggies took an early 10-8 lead. Marjama’s serves helped turn the score into a 12-10 Alabama lead. Two back-to-back aces forced Texas A&M to call a timeout that eventually ended the turnaround. 

Marjama said she found the attempt to ice her “kind of funny.” 

“It puts a little smile on my face that they’re trying to stop something that I’m not going to let up on,” Marjama said. “It gives me a breather to reset my mind so I can take a break, sit down, drink some water, some Gatorade, a snack, and then go back and do the same thing I do every single day.” 

Alabama led the rest of the set until Campbell won the final point. The 25-20 win sealed the 3-1 victory for the Crimson Tide. 

Jacobs said that the road win reflected the focus of the team’s bye week. 

“I think it’s really great,” Jacobs said. “Obviously the season hasn’t been 100% what we wanted, but we’ve been growing and focusing on not giving up this entire season so being able to put everything together was really amazing.” 

The Crimson Tide will continue its season at Foster Auditorium on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m. as they celebrate Alumni/90s Night with a match against the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

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