By (Ben Boynton)

After a win Friday night at Arkansas that featured its highest hitting percentage of SEC play, the Alabama volleyball team struggled Sunday afternoon in a 3-1 loss at Ole Miss.

The Crimson Tide hit just .166 in the match and falls to 15-7 on the year. The team is 4-5 in the SEC, which puts it in a tie for sixth in the conference.

Alabama earned the first point of the match, but Ole Miss quickly took a lead it would not relinquish. Alabama trailed, 12-7, at its first timeout and was able to close it to 15-12 before Ole Miss answered with three straight points. The Rebels would eventually win the set, 25-18.

The second set started 7-4 in Alabama’s favor before redshirt freshman setter Shannon Mikesky went down with an injury. Alabama came out of the timeout with a 5-1 run to lead, 12-5, and force an Ole Miss timeout. The Crimson Tide pushed it to 21-11, at which point Ole Miss scored four straight points to force an Alabama timeout. The Rebels closed it to within three, but Alabama went on to win the set, 25-21, to tie the set up, 1-1.

The third set was close early on, with Ole Miss holding a 6-4 lead. The Rebels scored three straight to force an Alabama timeout and then added three more after the timeout to force Alabama’s second timeout while down, 12-4. Ole Miss scored two more for the 10-point lead and led by about that margin for the rest of the set, winning, 25-15, to retake the match lead, 2-1.

In the fourth set, the Rebels built a 13-6 lead that forced Alabama to call its first timeout. Later trailing, 16-9, the Crimson Tide narrowed the gap to four and forced an Ole Miss timeout after making the score, 16-12. Alabama fell behind by seven before stringing three points together to cut the lead to 21-17 and force the Rebels to take their final timeout. From that point, Alabama would only score twice more, as Ole Miss won the set, 25-19, to win the match, 3-1.

Redshirt senior middle blocker Krystal Rivers earned her sixth double-double of the year, adding 11 digs to a team-high 31 kills on a .406 hitting percentage. The kill total gave her a fifth match this season and sixth in her career with at least 30 kills, both tops in program history. No other player registered more than seven kills. Senior outside hitter Brittany Thomas led the team with 13 digs.

The Crimson Tide returns home for two matches during UA’s fall break. Alabama hosts the Tennessee Volunteers at 6 p.m. on Friday and then the SEC-leading Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports