Alabama volleyball heads to Houston for the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup 

Abby McCreary, Staff Reporter

The Alabama volleyball team is on the move for the first time this season.  

The Crimson Tide (3-0) is testing their undefeated status at the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup in Houston, Texas, this weekend. The invite will be the first away games for head coach Rashinda Reed and her coaching staff. 

Reed said she’s looking forward to the team’s mindset on an away court. 

“That attention to just being present within the moment and dialed in, those are things that you can’t see statistically,” Reed said. “So just the whole mindset are things that we’ve been working on.” 

Oregon State, Friday at 1 p.m. CT 

Oregon State opened up its season with two losses this past weekend, despite some hard-fought matches. The Beavers held a 2-0 lead against Long Beach State before losing 2-3 and won the first set against Portland State before losing the next three.  

After a 5-13 COVID season in 2020 and the seasons before that ruined with countless injuries, last year was just another disappointment for the Beavers. Their 5-25 record only featured three conference wins.  

This year, though, holds some hope for Oregon State. Although their opening weekend was marked with losses, the Beavers led their opponents in both kills and digs, showing strong foundations, offensively and defensively. 

The team might also just need some experience under its belt. The 2022 squad is a mix of freshmen and sophomores, led by the single senior on the roster, transfer Inna Balyko. Balyko, a former setter for the Russian championship team, already has nearly double the assists than the rest of the team combined.  

Houston, Friday at 7:30 p.m. CT 

Houston had a more successful opening weekend, going 2-1 with some dominant wins. The team knows how to find its groove, winning two of its sets by more than 10 points.  

Veteran players Kate Georgiades and Abbie Jackson led the team with an impressive 44 kills and 61 digs, respectively. Both players return from a team that went 25-7 last year. 

However, one of those losses came from Alabama. Houston had won the previous two times the teams met, but in Tuscaloosa last year, the Crimson Tide pulled off a 3-1 win against the Cougars.  

This season, Alabama comes in with the better record but loses the home court advantage. Although the Crimson Tide was able to benefit from the crowd’s energy this past weekend, they will need to tune the Houston crowd out if they want a win on the road Friday night. 

Central Arkansas, Saturday at 1:30 p.m. CT 

Like Alabama, Central Arkansas is going into the invite undefeated. The Sugar Bears’ latest win was an exciting 3-2 victory that took down Missouri State on its home court. They originally led Missouri State 2-0, but then let the match tie before securing the win with a 15-12 fifth set. 

Central Arkansas is already off to a better start than last season. The Sugar Bears ended 7-18, despite head coach John Newberry’s history of two NCAA tournament appearances with the program.  

Coach Reed also has experience in the NCAA tournament, but there will be different factors at play this weekend, like communication.  

“Something that we discussed as a coaching staff is that dynamic between the coaching staff and then also the coaching staff-to-player and player-to-player [communication],” Reed said. “Is it absolutely perfect? No, but this is still early on within the season. If this is the foundation, we’re in a really good spot.”

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