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

Alabama volleyball avoids winless SEC season with senior day victory

CW / Elijah McWhorter
Alabama volleyball players celebrate their win over Texas A&M.

For the first time since 2018, Alabama volleyball ended its season with a win.  

The Crimson Tide defeated Texas A&M in four sets in the final game of the season Saturday. This also marks Alabama’s first conference win of the season. This game also marks Alabama’s first win since its home game against Grambling State on Sept. 16.

The Crimson Tide avoided being on the wrong side of history Saturday afternoon. With a loss, Alabama would’ve been the fifth team since 1995 to have a no-win SEC season, the last team being the Georgia Bulldogs in 2015.  

This game also marks the end of six starting players’ careers: Middle blockers Alyiah Wells and Chaise Campbell, outside hitters Sami Jacobs and Kendyl Reaugh, defensive specialist Sydney Gholson, and libero Victoria Schmer will be saying goodbye to Alabama. Although these six key players will be making their exit, they remain confident that the future is bright for the team.  

“I won’t be here to witness it and be a part of it, unfortunately, but I have 100% faith in what we built,” Wells said. “What this senior class has embedded is the culture for the younger girls and the young girls coming in. I know that the people that we’re leaving behind are going to spread that same message to them. So I think 1,000% that the SEC needs to be ready for Bama next year.” 

The game started neck and neck, with the teams exchanging a service error each to break in scoring; both teams had trouble containing service errors, but Alabama bested A&M with only 12, compared with the Aggies’ 14.  

The game continued in a back-and-forth fashion until Alabama pulled ahead at 5-5 with three kills by Reaugh and Wells, two blocks, and multiple hitting errors from A&M to put the Crimson Tide 10 points ahead of the Aggies. Unlike past games, the team didn’t squander this lead but took it to a 25-13 first set.  

The rest of the sets were significantly closer than the first, with Texas A&M taking the second set at 25-23. In this set, the Crimson Tide recorded 14 kills out of 37 attempts to record a .243 hitting percentage.  

Moving into the third set, the Crimson Tide maintained its offensive prowess, achieving a .382 hitting percentage with 15 kills out of 34 attempts.  

In the fourth set, Alabama sustained its competitive edge, posting a .316 hit percentage with 14 kills out of 38 attempts, ultimately securing its first SEC victory. 

In this victory, multiple players accomplished both season and career highs. Campbell and Schmer hit career highs with eight blocks and 18 digs, respectively. Jacobs led the charge with a season-high 18 kills and 15 digs, marking her second career double-double. As they bade farewell, Reaugh and Wells wrapped up their impressive Alabama careers with 997 and 987 kills respectively, coming close to the 1,000-point club.  

The Crimson Tide, led by seniors Wells, Jacobs and Reaugh, mashed out 56 kills against the Aggies. The team also managed a .195 hitting percentage, one of its highest since its Nov. 12 game against the Florida Gators.  

Despite Texas A&M leading the SEC in blocks with 2.76 a set, Alabama bested the Aggies with one block solo and 16 block assists, while A&M had only 14 block assists, something that Jacobs thinks has come from the confidence the team has built.  

“We’re never going to be afraid of a big block,” Jacobs said. “I think we just have to know that they’re going to get their blocks and with that defense, their cover, we’re just really going to have to swing. You’re never going to win a game tipping. So, just being confident in ourselves and our ability.” 

Despite the losses that has followed the team this season, a sentiment that has echoed has been how the Crimson Tide will continue to fight.  

“The season was difficult. There’s a lot of adversity,” head coach Rashinda Reed said. “I think that with this last game, they just showed the resiliency of this team and that they were still staying in it. This is a team that doesn’t give up and is incredibly tough. This win is not just a win. It just shows the culture of this team, which is a big deal.” 

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