Volleyball sweeps weekend doubleheader at Ole Miss

Friday afternoon’s win over the Rebels marked the first time the Crimson Tide won a match in Oxford, Miss. since the 2008 season. 

Alabama volleyball captured its first pair of back-to-back wins of the season after two five-set thriller wins against the Ole Miss Rebels (0-10) this weekend. 

Game One: 13-25, 25-22, 26-24, 23-25 and 15-11

Alabama was blindsided by the Ole Miss attack in the first set. The team dropped it 13-25. The Rebels hit for a .370 clip and the Alabama block had no answer. This looked like a significant step back after the team tallied 12 blocks in the previous weekend against South Carolina. 

But the Alabama block quickly found its footing after the conclusion of the first set and finished with 14, a season high. Freshman Chase Cambell led the charge for the Crimson Tide block with six. Alabama also found major contributions from sophomore teammates Alyiah Wells and Emily Janek. Both Wells and Janek collected five blocks. 

The blocking success paved more opportunities for the offense. Junior transfer Abby Marjama took full advantage of the situation. Marjama led the team in kills entering the match, 115, and led in the match with 19 kills. Marjama finished with a .304 hitting clip on the afternoon and also led Alabama in service aces with two. 

Sophomore Kennedy Muckelroy, 15, and freshman Kendyl Reaugh, 14, also finished in double-digit kills. The team finished with an improved .211 hitting percentage. 

Despite the win, Alabama at times had trouble with Ole Miss’s serve. The Rebels’ service created many out-of-system balls for the Alabama offense, specifically in the first set, and finished with six service aces. Alabama prepared to clean up its serve-receive game in the second match. 

Game Two: 22-25, 27-25, 27-29, 25-20 and 16-1

Game two did not get any easier for Alabama and Ole Miss. Three of the five sets had to go past each set’s point regulation, the fifth set included. 

Alabama’s second five-set win had the same start, with an opening set loss. Alabama and Ole Miss traded wins in each other’s first three sets, and Alabama found itself in a 1-2 hole heading into the fourth set. The team needed to win the final two sets. 

Marjama finished the match with a team leading 19 kills, but Reaugh took the reins of the Alabama offense in the fourth and fifth set. Reaugh killed a team high 10 balls in the final two sets. Reaugh had an overall 16 kills in the afternoon only second-best to Marjama. 

The roles reversed behind the service line, which Alabama dominated on Saturday. The Crimson Tide had 10 service aces, compared to Ole Miss’ four. This is the most by the team in both the fall and spring seasons.

Alabama will try to continue its winning streak next Friday, Feb. 12 against Arkansas in  Fayetteville, Ark. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.