Alabama volleyball: What to know for the 2022 season

Abby McCreary, Staff Reporter

The 2022 Alabama volleyball season kicks off on Aug. 26 with the Crimson Tide Invitational. Following a disappointing 2021 campaign (10-20, 2-16), this year features some new changes that will hopefully bring the Crimson Tide a winning season.

New coaches

Rashinda Reed was named the head coach of the Alabama volleyball program on Dec. 20, 2021. Within a month, she added associate head coach Matt Scott and assistant coach Chelsi Carter, forming a dream team that will attempt to lead the team to a winning season.

Reed comes to Alabama from an assistant coach position with the University of Illinois volleyball program. She helped lead the Fighting Illini to four NCAA Tournament appearances and mentored several middle blockers during her five seasons with the team.

Reed has also worked with The University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she coached Carter, and the American Volleyball Coaches Association, where she met Scott. The trio, which has never worked all together before, hopes to begin a new era for the Alabama volleyball program.

The 2022 season is also the first season with a Black female head coach leading the program. Coaching in Foster Auditorium, the site of the Stand in the Schoolhouse Door, Reed has already made history with the Crimson Tide, and she hopes to create a “culture of champions” as well.

“As the first Black female head coach of the program, I am eager to set the example of excellence and strength alongside some of the most respected colleagues and accomplished staff members,” Reed said. “Our staff will bring similar values that will help guide this program towards a culture of champions.”

New players

Other new members of the Alabama volleyball program include transfer Maddy McCormick and freshman Micah Gryniewicz. Both players are outside hitters that will help bring a new offense to the Crimson Tide.

McCormick played her freshman season with Colorado State University where she had 33 kills across 20 sets. Her season debut against Fresno State featured 10 of those kills.

Gryniewicz hails from Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona, where she helped lead the program to back-to-back state championships. During her senior season, she was also named an AVCA All-Region player and Phenom Award winner.

New defense

With the loss of middle blocker Sarah Swanson and right-side hitter Kennedy Muckelroy, the Crimson Tide will need to build a new defense this season. Swanson and Muckelroy combined to lead the program with a total of 114 blocks in the 2021 season, so Reed will need someone to step up to fill their holes in the defense.

Even with Swanson and Muckelroy last season, the Crimson Tide had 197 blocks to their opponents’ 269, and their opponents had nearly double the number of assisted blocks. If Alabama wants to have a winning season, its defense will have to catch up with its offense.  

Reed’s experience coaching the Illini middle blockers will hopefully bring a much-needed change to the Crimson Tide defense.

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]