By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Terrin Waack)

The Alabama volleyball team finished its season opener in California 1-2.

Friday started off with a loss against Long Beach State 3-1. Then, Alabama split Saturday with a 3-2 win against Cal State Fullerton and a 3-1 loss against Pepperdine.

“We’re dealing with several injuries and just trying [to] find a unit that is indicative of playing the season,” coach Ed Allen said. “We take away from the weekend, I think, a lot in terms of what other people can do in terms of a supporting cast.”

Sophomore outside hitter Kat Hutson only played one set since she’s currently dealing with injuries. Junior Krystal Rivers is still recovering from a previous injury and bounced back and forth between middle blocker and right side hitter this weekend. Both players have been key components to Alabama’s offense.

“We just have to get healthy,” Allen said. “That’s the biggest piece.”

Alabama showed a lot of tenacity during its match against Cal State Fullerton. After the first two sets, Alabama was trailing 2-0. Then, the team rallied, won the next two sets and forced both teams into a fifth set where Alabama pulled through 18-16 for its big comeback to secure the overall win.

“I think it’s indicative of what we’re going to get with everyone we play,” Allen said. “We’re going to get their best effort on a regular basis.”

Two career highs were set during this match. Junior Brittany Thomas had 26 kills and sophomore Natalie Murison had 25 digs.

The team played a significant number of players over the weekend. Freshman outside hitter Tabitha Brown made her first collegiate appearance and, over the course of the three matches, had 37 kills and 26 digs.

“I think she – just like any freshman – experienced some of the difficulties of what it is like to play at this level, but at the same times, there were splashes of greatness,” Allen said. “She’s going to be a force on the outside if she continues to mature and grow as a college player.”

Allen said he thinks that it was good for the team to have tough opponents this early on and for it to be able to play as many players as it did. He said it was outstanding to compete against those teams with less than its best lineup – not even close to its best lineup.

“We still need to find out [our] identity in the lineup,” Allen said. “It was apparent it was an opening weekend for sure.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports