Volleyball welcomes South Carolina to Foster Auditorium

Abby McCreary, Staff Reporter

After a disappointing match against Mississippi State last Saturday, Alabama volleyball continues its homestand this weekend with a pair of matches against South Carolina.  

Head coach Rashinda Reed said that the focus in practice this week has nothing to do with the Gamecocks. 

“We’ve been focusing on ourselves,” Reed said. “We haven’t been thinking about South Carolina yet, just our side of the court.” 

Reed said that one of the main focuses is improving the defense. The Crimson Tide’s last outing against Mississippi State saw one of its highest combined reception — and blocking — error totals. 

If Alabama wants a win this weekend, its defense will certainly need to step up, since its offense ranks similarly to South Carolina. In the SEC, the Gamecocks rank just above the Crimson Tide in hitting percentage, kills and assists. However, South Carolina has had some choice wins that set them apart from Alabama.  

South Carolina not only defeated Ole Miss and Mississippi State, but also secured a five-set victory over then-No. 12 Florida to open conference play. Despite the win over the leader of the SEC, the Gamecocks still sit in the second half of the standings with Alabama.  

Led by a pair of setters and a trio of outside hitters, the Gamecocks’ offense has depth and a range of ages. Like the Crimson Tide, South Carolina is a team that has struggled this season but is building towards a brighter future.  

Alabama outside hitter Alyiah Wells, though, is still locked into this season.  

“We’re focusing on what we need to work on,” Wells said. “Improve with every game. Leave it all out on the court with no regrets.” 

Although the Crimson Tide has tallied less wins than it has wanted to this season, Wells said that there’s room for the team to learn and grow. 

“I feel like the last few games we’ve had a few regrets, like not finishing out as strong as we would’ve liked,” Wells said. “But we just want to make sure we can leave saying we gave it all that we had.”  

With six games, three opponents and two weeks left in the season, Reed has little time left to show the world what the Alabama volleyball program has become during her first year as head coach. The future of the program, though, is still undetermined. On Wednesday — National Signing Day — Reed’s first recruiting class was revealed, featuring six future players for the Crimson Tide. 

“We’re really excited about all those ladies because it’s such a big group,” Reed said. “It’s a continuation of what we’re currently building.” 

Part of the program that Reed is building includes battling to the end of every game — and the end of the season. She said that right now the focus is these last six games.  

“[We’re going to] just continue to battle and put everything on the court,” Reed said. “Have no regrets. Battle to the very end.”  

The rest of the season begins this Friday at 6 p.m. CT and continues on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT, both against South Carolina in Tuscaloosa. Both matches will be on SEC Network+. 

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