Karen Crews continues to prove critics wrong


CW/ Evan Pilat

James Benedetto, Staff Writer

She is in her second season with Alabama and is quietly gaining notoriety as being one of the most consistent players on the team.

Crews said she remembers why she is here and the obstacles she had to go through to get to Alabama.

“It means a lot,” Crews said. “I’ve put a lot of work into this. I’ve been playing since fifth grade, so lots of years have been put into this, and it’s been a dream honestly. A lot of people didn’t think I could I make it, but I used that as motivation to make it.”

Crews said people who didn’t believe in her commented on her height and not how she played She heard the line, “if only you were six inches taller, you would be great” as she continued to play through the years. However, height did not define who Crews was as a player. She found ways to keep herself on the floor – something coach Ed Allen said he appreciated.

“She’s a player that goes in as a serving specialist for us and to defend,” Allen said. “She’s a kid that really is a great teammate and fills whatever role that she needs to be. I think that as she continues to mature as a player and become a little tougher mentally, in terms of serving the ball tough – she serves the ball tougher in practice than she does in a match. I think when she is able to transfer some of that and become a little more comfortable in a match, she’s going to be an excellent option for us back at the service line.”

Crews has been a constant go-to player when Allen needs someone off the bench and has seen a lot of action this season. She has seen time in every match this season and injects a calming presence when she checks into the game.

“Karen is always super focused,” freshman Erin Curl said. “I feel like she always comes out doing what she needs to do and she brings the calmness the team needs at the times she goes in.”

Crews credits her calmness to the preparation she goes through every day in practice.

“I try to make all of my teammates better by doing what I can personally, do my job to the best that I can to the best of my ability,” Crews said. “For me, I’m trying to track the serve, receive balls well enough so I can get my platform correct and staying stopped on defense, so I can make a move, and also when I serve making good hand contact.”

Crews has a specific routine when she’s about to serve the ball that helps her focus.

“I just hit the ball on the ground and bounce it three times and then spin it, and then I go and do my serve,” Crews said.

Simple yet effective. “The routine” as she calls it, helps her keep cool under pressure in the big moments throughout the game and allows her to focus on contributing her part.

“It helps me when people are yelling at me from the sidelines,” Crews said. “The other team and the crowd try to yell at you to mess you up, but it helps bring it down to ‘This is what I am doing, and I need to focus on this so I can help the team.”

Alabama continues its SEC portion of the season match against No. 11 Florida in Gainesville on Sunday—a game in which the Crimson Tide is preparing for like Crews prepares herself for her serve, one step at a time.

“We are focusing on doing everything that we can right off the court so that it will transfer onto the court,” Crews said. “Being disciplined is major right now. We are going to focus on every game one at a time and not look past Alabama State. They took us to four [sets] I believe last year, so we are going to focus on them first.”