TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The two-day Crimson Invitational couldn’t have gone much better for Coach Reed in her first matches as head coach of the Tide, as she led the team to a 3-1 (25-18, 27-25, 25-27, 25-22) victory over the USM Golden Eagles, their third straight win. After both teams defeated McNeese and UTSA in Day 1, the stage was set for a ‘championship’ matchup.
In warmups, USM seemed to have a clear firepower advantage. However, aggressive serving by the Tide paid off as the Golden Eagles struggled to pass well enough to run in-system attacks. Combined with USM’s 6 missed serves, the Tide cruised to a 25-18 set 1 win.
That said, the Golden Eagles were not going down without a fight. Alabama suffered from several early attacking errors, and USM cashed in on points from their middles running slides, racing out to an 8-point lead. Still, the Tide clawed back to tie the set at 18. Freshman OH Micah Gryniewicz and junior MH Chaise Campbell found their stride defensively, double blocking a slide attempt from USM to make it 23-19 Bama.
USM would go on to hold set point 24-25, before the Tide rattled off three straight, ending with a diving dig, diving pop-up by junior L Victoria Schmer, and incredible put-down by junior OH Kendyl Reaugh to win 27-25, earning a big roar of approval from the home crowd.
A nailbiter third set would go the way of USM (25-27) off of an Alabama attack error, with neither team holding a lead of more than two since the score was tied at 10.
The decisive fourth set saw Schmer again making incredible diving digs to fend off the powerful USM offense. A Gryniewicz kill tied the set 22-22 before Campbell showed off her serve, ending the match with an ace. The final set score was 25-22.
The Tide will travel to Houston on September 2, looking to defend the zero in their record.