Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

South Carolina serves volleyball its 8th straight loss

UA Athletics
Members of the Alabama volleyball team gather after a point in its Wednesday night loss to South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina.

Alabama volleyball traveled to Columbia, South Carolina, Wednesday night to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks but will return to Tuscaloosa with its eighth consecutive SEC loss. This leaves its SEC record at a disappointing 0-8. 

Although Alabama lost the game, it secured a win in the third set, taking the match to a four-set toss-up. 

The team has a habit of turning up the heat in the second or third set, often leading to overtime or a fourth set. In this game, the Crimson Tide dominated the Gamecocks, winning with a score of 25-14 and showcasing a knack for finishing matches with a strong push in the later sets. 

In its match against Kentucky, the team rallied in the third set, securing a victory with a score of 25-19. Facing off against Florida, Alabama mounted a comeback in the second set, pushing the game into overtime, ultimately settling with a loss at 26-28. Similarly, against Missouri, the Crimson Tide staged another impressive comeback, forcing overtime and narrowly missing out with a score of 28-30. In the matchup against Arkansas, the team demonstrated its resilience again, making a comeback in the third set and clinching a hard-fought 25-23 win. 

Despite its evident skill and ability to mount impressive comebacks in crucial moments, the team struggles with maintaining a consistent level of play. While the Crimson Tide has demonstrated flashes of tenacity, there’s room for improvement in sustaining its performance throughout matches. Striving for greater consistency in its execution has been a large focus for the team this season, as it could be the key to unlocking even more success on the court. 

“We have all the pieces that make a great team,” libero Victoria Schmer said after the team’s loss to Arkansas. “We just don’t put it together consistently, and we don’t perform the same set to set. So, I think that’s the most frustrating part.” 

Despite the defeat, good things were not absent for the Crimson Tide. Outside hitter Kendyl Reaugh delivered a standout performance, achieving a career high of 22 kills for the Crimson Tide. This impressive feat translated to a hitting percentage of .264. Following closely behind was middle blocker Alyiah Wells, whose hitting percentage stood at .207, accompanied by 10 kills. This game propelled both players into the exclusive club of over 900 career kills, with Reaugh boasting an impressive 912 and Wells not far behind at 901. 

For the first time since the team’s first match of the season against Mississippi Valley State, middle blocker Jordyn Towns made her way back into the game after having an injury all season. She secured four kills for the Crimson Tide; middle blocker Chaise Campbell matched this. 

Freshman setter Gabbi LeBlanc made her first SEC starting appearance this game and boasted 33 assists for the Crimson Tide, along with Callie Kieffer, who came in later in the game for six assists. 

The team had six service aces but struggled with nine service errors, a recurring issue impacting its ability to win tight matches. In comparison, South Carolina had only one fewer ace but committed four fewer errors. 

Wells led the team in blocks this game with one solo block and four block assists. Campbell, outside hitter Kaleigh Palmer, LeBlanc, Towns and Reaugh each assisted in the other 10 block assists. Compared with South Carolina, these numbers are very low; the Gamecocks managed three block solos, two coming from middle blocker Oby Anadi. They also landed 18 block assists, nearly doubling the Crimson Tide. 

Schmer and defensive specialists Allison Berent and Francesca Bertucci had their work cut out for them this game. On the other side of the net were Gamecock hitters Riley Whitesides, Lauren McCutcheon and Kiune Fletcher, who had a combined 40 kills on the Crimson Tide. The team managed 50 digs on South Carolina attacks; notably, Schmer had 12, Berent and Bertucci each had nine, and Reaugh had seven. 

The team will be traveling back to Tuscaloosa to prepare for its next game against the LSU Tigers, which will begin Sunday at 1 p.m. CT at Foster Auditorium. 

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