Alabama volleyball makes comeback to win Crimson Tide Invitational

Javon Williams | @JavonCW, Staff Reporter

Alabama women’s volleyball held its first set of home matches this weekend at the Crimson Tide Invitational. The three-day tournament at Foster Auditorium included Troy University, the University of Buffalo and the University of Southern Mississippi. Despite a loss to Troy in the opener, Alabama finished the invitational in first place.

Troy University (1-3: 25-20, 16-25, 23-25, 30-32)

The match against the Trojans went to four sets and was Alabama’s first loss of the season. Alabama took the first set, but the Trojans claimed the last three. In the loss, the Crimson Tide showed grit by pushing the fourth set past regulation with a final score of 30-32.

“It wasn’t our best day, but we have the ability to put it in our control and come out stronger,” outside hitter Abby Marjama said.

Marjama and right-side hitter Kennedy Muckelroy led the team with 13 kills. Middle blocker Sarah Swanson was right behind them with 12 kills and had six blocks.

University of Buffalo (3-0: 25-18, 25-14, 25-13)

Following its loss against Troy, the Crimson Tide came back with a clean sweep against the Bulls in day two of the tournament. This win was the first home sweep for Alabama since 2018 against Mississippi State. All of Alabama’s players saw playing time during this match.

Marjama led the team with 10 kills and one error on 18 swings ending. The California native ended the match with a .500 hitting percentage and a season-best four aces and three digs.

Aside from Marjama, Alabama saw contributions from setter Brooke Slusser, libero Dru Kuck and middle blocker Alyiah Wells. Slusser tallied 19 assists, two aces and two digs. Kuck ended with three assists, one service ace and 17 digs. Wells posted eight kills against Buffalo with  a .583 hitting percentage, creating a combined .525 hitting percentage over her last three matches.

University of Southern Mississippi (3-2: 19-25, 25-27, 25-14, 25-19, 16-14)

Alabama was not in a prime position to close out the invitational with a win over the Golden Eagles after dropping the first two sets. Outside hitter Sami Jacobs led Alabama to a five-set win. This was the first five-set match of the season for the Crimson Tide and its first five-set win since Villanova in 2018.

“After the first two sets, we said we need to defend the home court and have pride in it,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs ended with 22 kills, one ace, one block and eight digs. She was named the Crimson Tide Invitational MVP. 

Setter Emily Janek finished with 23 assists and seven digs. Slusser ended with 25 assists and four digs. Wells put up 14 kills, five digs and contributed to seven of the 10 team blocks for Alabama.

What’s Next?

Alabama will be on the road for its next match in Kennesaw, Georgia, where the team will face Kennesaw State on Tuesday, Sept. 7. The match will be broadcast on ESPN+ at 5 p.m. CT.