Volleyball returns home for Saturday matchup with Mississippi State

Abby McCreary, Staff Reporter

After winning its first road match of the season, Alabama volleyball is returning home to Tuscaloosa to continue its attempt to turn its 2022 campaign around.  

The team’s Wednesday victory in College Station, Texas, was its first match after a bye week that allowed the Crimson Tide (8-15, 2-9) to refocus for its remaining matches.  

Alabama’s next match is this weekend against the Mississippi State Bulldogs (12-10, 5-7), who are coming off a thrilling five-set victory over LSU in Baton Rouge.  

Outside hitter Abby Marjama said that her team’s bye week has affected their play for the rest of their season — no matter the Bulldogs’ momentum. 

“Just coming in from the whole week, we had a great week of just practice,” Marjama said. “Having this past week off, we were able to just work on a bunch of fundamentals and get back to the basics, and I think that really helped.” 

Throughout the season, the Bulldogs and the Crimson Tide have competed against nine common teams, both in the conference and out. Of those nine teams, Mississippi won against five of them — Alabama only beat one. 

However, Alabama’s bye week has created a reset. A new and improved Crimson Tide is going into the rest of the season, and after their initial win on Wednesday, they will do anything to keep winning matches. 

“I feel like we’re so close right now,” head coach Rashinda Reed said. “The ladies feel it.  We’re just continuing to build on the things we’ve been working on and finishing strong.” 

Alabama’s game behind the service line has been strong all season. However, its nine service aces on Wednesday night were its highest total since early September. Marjama claimed five of those aces as her own, giving her a total of 57 on the season — third most in the nation. 

In comparison, the Bulldogs’ leading server, outside hitter Lauren Myrick, has only 19 aces. Her team has served less than half the number of aces that the Crimson Tide has, so if the match comes down to the service game, Alabama has the advantage.  

Historically, Alabama also has the advantage. The Crimson Tide leads the all-time series 51-18, and seven of the past eight matches were Alabama victories. However, the last match saw a 17-5 Mississippi State team sweep the Crimson Tide in Starkville. 

Although the Bulldogs made the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year, they have yet to show the same dominance this year. Of their four games against ranked opponents this year, they’ve only won one. Mississippi State also has the lowest blocks-per-set average in the SEC.  

For an Alabama team that hit .267 in their last match — its highest since early September — this is a good sign. 

This weekend, the Crimson Tide will also have the home court advantage in Foster Auditorium and the unconditional support of several alumni who will be returning for a shared Alumni and ‘90s Night.  

The match is set for Saturday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.

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