Alabama’s two leaders in kills, senior Leah Lawrence and sophomore Ginger Perinar, share a special bond that connects them. It has nothing to do with Alabama or the volleyball team.
“She was one of the first people that asked me to get lunch with her when I first got there,” Perinar said. “We connected on just stupid things, like the fact that we both hate cats. It’s kind of stupid, but it got us to talking. She’s a really good person to have on the court.”
Perinar spent her freshman season at Southern Illinois, where she earned a spot on the MVC All-Freshman team.
However, when the head coach told the team he was taking another head coaching job elsewhere, Perinar started considering her options for her own move.
One of the first schools that she talked to, the University of Alabama.
“As soon as I started looking, I got in contact with Alabama and had the chance to visit,” she said. “I just fell in love with it immediately. I didn’t get to meet the girls, but I met coach (Ed) Allen and he made a really good first impression with me. He has a lot of coaching philosophies and good coaching styles I agreed with. I thought it was a good fit for me.”
Allen feels that Alabama got fortunate to be able to land a player of the caliber of Perinar.
“She’s a talented player that is ready to bust into the top 10 in the SEC in kills per set. She’s an even better kid than player. Her transition has been seamless, you’d never guess she was a kid that transferred, you’d think we recruited her from day one.”
Perinar committed to Alabama and within a week started Summer 1 session classes. Because she did not have a car, she depended on her senior team and roommates for rides.
She said the seniors on the team, Lawrence included, showed Perinar the ropes. In Summer session 2, she bonded more with the incoming freshman, including setter Meghan Neelon.
“She’s a lot of fun, we connected a lot,” Perinar said. “She is also awesome on the volleyball court outside of the social life, because she’s very vocal. You don’t see that very much for a freshman and she’s not afraid to get her point across and get people to step up.”
Perinar believes the connections she made with her teammates are now showing on the court, as the team is building a strong chemistry and are growing together.
Alabama, off to a slow start in SEC play with a 2-5 record, face the Florida Gators on Friday at 7 p.m. at Foster Auditorium.
The Gators are coming off a loss to a Kentucky team Alabama fell to two weeks ago. Perinar believes the showing from Alabama against Kentucky is a good building block for the team.
“The fact we were able to take a set from Kentucky says a lot about the team we are and shows a lot of hope for what we can do,” Perinar said, “because we all know we are capable of playing games and playing at that level. Once we realize that, it will help us win and have that confidence against such a good team.”
Alabama is returning home after a four-match road trip. It has played five of the first seven SEC matches on the road.
“We’ve had a tough start,” Allen said. “That’s a heck of a tough start for a very young team. It helps in the long-term, because we get to stay home in November. We now have seven of our 11 league matches left at home. The schedule stacks up in our favor.”
Allen points out that despite the early struggles in SEC play, Alabama is ranked 47 in RPI and the team is set-up well to make a run for the SEC tournament.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports