Volleyball wins first SEC match of season


Photo by Joe Will Field

James Benedetto, Staff Reporter

Alabama got back on track against Auburn, improving its overall record to 13-2 and 1-1 in SEC play. It defeated the Tigers 3-1.

One of the keys to the Crimson Tide’s victory over Auburn started with the passing game. Alabama finished the game with a 37 percent passing percentage. This led to a more improved hitting percentage. Alabama finished the match with a .227 hitting percentage.

Alabama made a change in its starting lineup to fix the passing problem it had in its last match against Missouri. Kaylee Thomas got the nod to start as the libero, placing senior Quincey Gary on the bench to start the match.

“[Thomas] is aggressive and is a player that sees the game very well,” coach Ed Allen said. “Right now we made the change because she is passing better than what Quincey is right now. She brings a lot of energy defensively and a lot of swagger defensively.”

Thomas’ energy seemed to fuel the team and her production on the floor speaks for itself. Thomas finished the match with a career high in digs with 19 while also limiting her receiving errors to one error in the match.

“I was just happy to be on the floor,” Thomas said. “Wearing the libero jersey meant that I would have more opportunities to get more digs and I just tried to bring energy to the floor.”

Thomas’ energy and the crowd enthusiasm was a definite boost for Alabama in a grueling match. The match went to four sets since Auburn continued to battle back. The match ended with 36 ties and nine lead changes pushing the Crimson Tide to the limit on a few occasions.

“I think the positive thing to take out of today is that we didn’t see overly significant runs,” Allen said. “[Auburn] did have a couple of smaller runs of around two or three points but nothing major. We obviously passed the ball better today. Although it was not our best attacking performance, our outside hitters hit way better than they did the other night.”

Ginger Perinar and Doris Carter had big impacts on the game. Both outside hitters finished above 10 kills for the match and both hitters finished above 20 percent in hitting. Middle Blockers Cidavia Hall and Hayley McSparin both had bounce back games. McSparin finished with 11 kills and .375 hitting percentage while Hall finished with eight kills with four kills coming in the fourth set.

“The Auburn blockers did a really good job setting up the block against us,” Perinar said. “Our middles did so well to open up the block which gave Doris and I more opportunities.”

Perinar continued to say that this match really showed the resiliency and fight that this years Alabama team plays with. Perinar stressed that Allen continues to preach resiliency in practice to prepare the team for back and forth matches, like the match against Auburn.

Alabama has a quick turnaround as they face South Carolina at home on Friday night.