In a five-set showdown with the No. 19 Texas A&M Aggies, the Alabama Crimson Tide walked away victorious in perhaps the biggest volleyball match of the year so far.
With the win, the Crimson Tide improves to 12-2 on the season and has now won eight straight matches, but the team believes this is without a doubt the biggest win it has had.
“Huge, huge probably is not even the right word, huge is definitely an understatement,” middle blocker Hayley McSparin said.
McSparrins’ reaction to the importance of this win was shared with the entire team. When the final serve flew over the back line and the win was clinched for Alabama, the Crimson Tide bench fled to the court in pure joy.
After taking the first two sets of the match 25-19 and 26-24, Alabama was in cruise control heading towards the third-set intermission spearheaded by the electric duo play of middle blocker Krystal Rivers and setter Shannon Mikesky. In two sets, Rivers had 14 kills along with two blocks, while Mikesky had a combined 32 assists, including 21 in the second set.
Alabama headed toward the third set poised to finish the upset in a possible sweep, but the Aggies powered back.
Texas A&M started its comeback trail by taking the third set, 25-22. Aggies setter Stephanie Aiple was the clear playmaker on the court having 12 assists in the sole set. Then, after dominating the fourth set, 25-16, and forcing a fifth and final set, all the momentum seemed to be on the side of Texas A&M.
The pendulum would swing back in favor of Alabama, however, after it defeated an unanticipated enemy: itself.
“We couldn’t get out of our own way,” Mikesky said. “We made way too many mental errors but luckily we were able to regroup and get it together.”
While the Crimson Tide may not have wanted the match to be extended to a fifth set, the crowd seemed to enjoy the competitive drive of the two teams going after each other. In the final set, the two teams went back and forth including three different lead changes before Alabama would ultimately win the set, 15-13.
“We are gonna celebrate the win tonight then we move on to Florida this Sunday, back to business,” Mikesky said.
The Crimson Tide will face off Sunday against the No. 6 Florida Gators at Foster Auditorium at 12 p.m. CT.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports