TUSCALOOSA, AL. – In their final match preceding conference play, the Tide faced off against the Grambling State Tigers. Coming into the match with a record of 9-1, Alabama boasted easily its best start in program history.

When asked about her thought process behind scheduling relatively light non-conference competition, head coach Rashinda Reed asserted, “[The] thought process is more like a slow burn, just kind of working our way up… instead of just going for those aggressive teams in the beginning.”

The lineup has been consistent for the Tide thus far, with the only potential positional battle occurring at opposite hitter. Kaleigh Palmer saw some time at the Green Wave Classic, but Kyla Dunaway has been the go-to option and started against the Tigers.

Though the Tigers were outmatched at the net, some scrappy defense allowed them to keep the score close early in set one, with the Tide up 16-13.  Some late Grambling State errors allowed Alabama to cruise to a 25-18 set one victory.

Midway through set one, Coach Reed made the call to DS Micah Gryniewicz with first-year transfer Francesca Bertucci, sacrificing the pipe option offensively in hopes of better defensive results. This substitution was sustained through the rest of the match.

Despite amassing a 13-8 lead, a series of errors from the Tide and smart play from the Tigers forced head coach Rashinda Reed to call a timeout up just 14-13 in set two. However, Alabama was able to regroup and capitalize on Tiger attacking errors to comfortably win set two 25-17.

Set three saw the Tide shoot out to an 11-3 lead. Never looking back, Alabama won the set 25-15 and the match 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-15).

With the win, the Tide improves to 10-1 (0-0) with a big match at SEC rival Ole Miss next up on the schedule.

Elliott Scully serves as WVUA-FM’s senior volleyball writer. Follow Elliott on X @elliottscull.