Volleyball finishes up season at home against Tennessee

Abby McCreary, Staff Reporter

This week it all ends where it began — Foster Auditorium.  

Three months ago, the Rashinda Reed era of Alabama volleyball kicked off at home, and this week, her first season culminates with a pair of matches against the University of Tennessee in Tuscaloosa.  

Although Alabama hasn’t had the season it wanted, veteran outside hitter Abby Marjama says that the win-loss column is just one small factor. 

“Things outside of volleyball make it an experience,” Marjama said. “Building a new culture, having a new coaching staff, introducing new people, progressing to see our team transition into a really good culture, bonding with these girls, keep improving — it’s just great memories to have.” 

The Crimson Tide (9-19, 3-13) has one more chance to “keep improving” with a Thanksgiving series against the Lady Volunteers (16-12, 10-6). 

The Lady Volunteers are coming off a powerful weekend series against Mississippi State University. Two of their players earned SEC accolades, including setter Natalie Hayward, the player and setter of the week, and right-side hitter Morgahn Fingall, the offensive player of the week.  

Fingall hit .394 last week and is a regular contributor to Tennessee’s .263 season average, good for No. 2 in the conference. She also averages 4.92 points per set — No. 1 in the SEC and No. 18 in the nation. 

Although Alabama suffered a pair of losses this weekend, the team has a record breaker of its own — Marjama. Her time behind the service line has earned her Alabama top-10 accolades, No. 3 in the nation and No. 1 in the SEC. To put her serving into perspective, the top ace-server for the Lady Volunteers, who happens to be Fingall, has less than half of Marjama’s total.  

Marjama, however, is just one leader of an Alabama team that has excelled at serving all season. The Crimson Tide averages 1.83 aces per set and has stayed at the top of the SEC all season. Three other players tallied at least one ace against Arkansas over the weekend, with several other players contributing throughout the season.  

To earn a win before the season comes to an end, Alabama will need to capitalize off its greatest strength and Tennessee’s greatest weakness — its opponent’s hitting percentage. Although the Lady Volunteers saw a lot of success this past weekend, they allow their opponents to hit nearly as well as they do (.233). 

Alabama is coming off its worst hitting performances of the season with a .027 and a .030. If the team can minimize the unforced errors, it stands a fighting chance against the Lady Volunteers on its home court.  

Reed said she’s happy with her team’s mindset as her players battle through matches, but at the end of the day, she’s still ready for a win.  

“You want to be able to win a match,” Reed said. “We were so close in that last set [against Arkansas] to finishing that out.”  

Reed and the Crimson Tide will have chances at a win this week on Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m. CT and Friday, Nov. 25, at 5 p.m. CT. Wednesday night’s game will air on SEC Network. 

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