For the first time this season, the Alabama volleyball team won three matches in a row.
It started with a 3-2 win over Arkanasas back on November 1, then this weekend, Alabama defeated both Tennessee on Friday and South Carolina on Sunday, 3-1.
After Sunday’s match, senior Bruna Evangelista said everything felt perfect.
“It was a great win,” she said. “I’m very excited because the first set was really bad for us and to come up with a win like that – a comeback win – was perfect.”
Alabama fell during that first set to South Carolina, 25-16.
While the Gamecocks didn’t produce a single attacking error, Alabama racked up eight and hit 0.098 versus South Carolina’s 0.500 hitting. The Crimson Tide started with the lead, but early on in the set, South Carolina took it and held it until the end.
“We talked about right before the set, we kind felt our energy was lacking and that showed in the first set,” sophomore Natalie Murison.
Of Alabama’s final 16 points in set one, South Carolina gave up three points off of serving and receiving errors.
“We didn’t engage, we blew assignments, and it was physically, mentally and really a less than average effort,” coach Ed Allen said. “It was a poor effort in that regard and so them coming back with a little fire, a little bit of purpose was huge.”
Once set one was out of its system, Alabama regrouped and won the next three sets to win the match.
Alabama won the second set, 25-20. That time, it only had four attacking errors. It took the lead from the start and held it through to the end. South Carolina tied it up twice but was unable to edge ahead.
Alabama had its first successful block in the second set then another in both the third and fourth set. It totaled three blocks throughout the four sets. South Carolina had nine.
“We definitely need to improve defensively our blocking and backcourt,” Murison said.
A better defensive backcourt would include getting better passes to setter Sierra Wilson so she can successfully set the ball to hitters. Improvement in defensive will also help improve offense.
The third set was even better for Alabama. It kept South Carolina just under 20 points with a final score of 25-19, this time only giving up three hitting errors.
In order to keep the match from going into five sets, Alabama needed to win set four.
“You take pressure off your team,” Allen said. “You get into a fifth set and anybody can win so you can take some pressure off your team by getting it done in four.”
The fourth set was the closest as South Carolina tried to force Alabama into a fifth set, giving it a chance to win the match. The Gamecocks held the lead from the beginning, but Alabama tied it up at 11-11 and soon after took the lead.
The gap between the two scores was never more than four points and towards the end of the set, it was never more than two points.
South Carolina tried to edge its way ahead but fell short. After eight score tie-ups, Alabama pulled through with a 25-23 set win and in result, also a 3-1 match win.
“We showed power, like this is our house. We’re not going to allow you to come in here and play as you wish,” Evangelista said.
Alabama defended its home territory of Foster Auditorium. Evangelista said after how the first set went, the team was angry and wasn’t going to allow the next sets to play out the same way. That mentality helped Alabama achieve the 3-1 win.
While three in a row feels great to the team now, the weekend is over with and it’s on to the next match in Gainesville against the Florida Gators where it’d like to continue to the winning run.
“From a coaches’ perspective, we’d like to see four now,” Allen said.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports