By (Ehsan Kassim)

Trailing 1-9 in the third set, head coach Ed Allen called a timeout. It turned out to be the turning point for Alabama, in it’s five-set victory over South Carolina on Sunday.

Allen’s message to the team was to relax and play its game.

“I told them to try and not to get frustrated about being down 9-1 and play one point at a time,” Allen said. “From that point on, even though we lost the set, we played like a team that finally had momentum, played in a rhythm.”

Alabama, (15-8, 3-6 SEC) won the opening set, 25-19. The Crimson Tide dropped the next two sets, 18-25 and 23-25. Alabama evened the match with a 25-22 set four victory before putting the Gamecocks away 15-7 in the fifth and final set.

Alabama, behind a loud crowd, improved to 5-0 on the season in five-set matches. Allen feels that the team’s conditioning and mental toughness helps the team win such matches.

“They are a team that really deals with adversity well,” Allen said. “They continue to chop wood and chip away at it. They are a team that plays with a certain deal of confidence when the pressure is on.”

Sophomore Ginger Perinar led the Crimson Tide with a career-high 22 kills, which is also the season-high for the Alabama team this year.

“It was definitely helpful,” said sophomore Mahalia Swink. “I feel like if we played like this elsewhere, it would have been difficult. I think it definitely played a role for us.”

Alabama had four players finish with double-figures in digs, with Swink leading the way, with a career-high of 22. Freshman Meghan Neelon also finished in double figures with 15, and collected 53 assists. It was her eighth double-double of the season.

Alabama has a short week next week with just one match on Friday, as it travels to Starkville, Miss. to take on the Mississippi Bulldogs at 8 p.m.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports