History repeated itself Sunday night for the University of Alabama volleyball team.
Just as it did last season, the Crimson Tide defeated Missouri, 3-2, after five close sets.
“It was great to get a win against a quality team and a quality program,” coach Ed Allen said.
The team showed resilience as it fought back-and-forth with the Tigers for the lead. Throughout the five sets, there were 20 times where the lead changed and 43 times that the two teams were tied up.
“We became much more consistent,” coach Ed Allen said. “We started applying things from practice. We started extending rallies. We started reducing hitting errors. We played like a volleyball team.”
Foster Auditorium was packed for homecoming weekend. Although the team may have treated the match like any other, the fans were in the homecoming spirit and amped up, especially with such a close match.
Having a full house only made the environment more intense than it already was. Alabama used that energy and built off it during its matches. Senior setter Sierra Wilson said it always helps the team when it has fans cheering it on.
“I always say our fans are like a seventh person on the court,” Wilson said.
Exciting the fans from the start, Alabama took the first set 25-21, but then it fell in second and third sets, 27-25 and 25-23. It was back-and-forth during each and it wasn’t clear until the final point was scored who was going to win.
The third and fourth sets weren’t as up in the air. There were less lead changes and tying scores. During the fifth set, Alabama was tied with Missouri twice, but other than that, Missouri never successfully took the lead during set five.
“I think we always approach every game as if it’s going to be close.” Wilson said. “Regardless of whether or not it is because I think the mentality that you have to take regarding those matches, you have to be that much more focused. It’s good to train that way.”
Alabama totaled 77 kills and 24 attacking errors while Missouri had 58 kills and 23 errors. Alabama had an edge over Missouri with a 0.293 hitting percentage in comparison to Missouri’s 0.217.
It wasn’t much, but it was enough.
“We didn’t ever get to a point where we just made multiple errors in a row,” sophomore outside hitter Kat Huston said. “We were able to cut that off.”
Both at outside, Hutson and junior Krystal Rivers led the team with 22 kills. Hutson also had a serving ace and was accountable for 23 of Alabama’s overall 88 points.
Wilson had two kills, 20 digs and 63 assists.
“I’m mostly very proud of everyone else and how much of a team effort this was,” Hutson said. “We did take a huge step forward today.”
After being faced with a less than ideal preseason and on-the-road SEC losses, Alabama is ready to take advantage of this step forward and build off of it. The team returned all its starters, but it is not the same team it was last year. It’s starting to rediscover itself.
“As the year goes on, a team finds its identity,” Hutson said. “It’s to a point where we’re just done with losing a game by two points.”
The Crimson Tide will face to Tigers again in Columbia on October 28.
Alabama (8-10, 2-2 SEC) will travel to College Station, Texas, to play Texas A&M on Friday and then to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for LSU on Sunday.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports