Volleyball Drops a Pair of Matches on Final Day of Active Ankle Challenge
Aug. 29, 2009
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The volleyball team suffered a pair of losses Saturday at the Active Ankle Challenge hosted by Saint Louis University. In the first match, the Crimson Tide fell 3-0 to No. 1 Penn State and followed that up with a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Miami (Ohio). Alabama is now 0-3 on the season.
“I thought we played better as the day went on,” said head coach Judy Green. “I like how we started against Miami and would have liked to have ended the match differently. The difference late was definitely service errors.”
In the Tide’s match against Penn State, seniors Elizabeth Salstrand and Brooks Webster and freshman Kayla Fitterer each tallied five kills to pace the Alabama offense. Junior Kayla Schmidt dished out a team-high 13 assists, and Webster topped all passers with 10 digs. Freshmen Kelsey Anderson and Fitterer both made their collegiate debuts in the match.
Alabama kept close early in the first behind a balanced offensive attack that included kills from redshirt sophomore Sarah Machen, juniors Calli Johnson and Alyssa Meuth, Salstrand and Webster. Back-to-back kills from Salstrand put the Tide within three at 13-10, but an 8-1 run by Penn State sent the set out of reach. Nittany Lion junior Arielle Wilson and freshman Darcy Dorton teamed up for a block to close out the first 25-13.
Penn State came out blazing in the second with a 6-1 run and gradually built upon its lead from there. Midway through the set, Fitterer entered the lineup for the first time and provided an immediate offensive presence with a kill setting the score at 13-5. The Nittany Lions continued to distance themselves as the set went on and would eventually win the second 25-10.
In the third set, Alabama was able stay within five points of the Penn State lead throughout the first half. Redshirt Freshman Leigh Moyer laid down a kill off an assist from Schmidt to put the Tide within three at 12-9, but The Nittany Lions would respond with six-straight points. With the score set at 24-13, Alabama was able to extend the match one player longer as a Fitterer kill dropped in the open court.
In the evening match against Miami (Ohio), Meuth had a stellar offensive outing with 10 kills off 19 total attacks for a .474 hitting percentage. Right behind Meuth were Webster and Fitterer who collected nine kills and eight kills, respectively. As a team, the Tide roped in 15 total blocks which is more than it had in any match last season.
The first set of the Tide’s evening match with Miami (Ohio) was extremely competitive seeing nine ties and three lead changes. Alabama hopped in front 2-1 off a RedHawk attack error and held the lead until late in the set. Miami (Ohio) sophomore Amy Raseman aced a serve to give her team the 22-21 edge, but the Tide quickly regained control behind a kill from Johnson and a block from Fitterer and Machen. Although the RedHawks would tie the score two more times, Alabama wouldn’t give up the lead and closed out the set 26-24.
The Tide dominated early on in the second jumping out to a 5-1 start. It continued to stay on top before Miami (Ohio) was able to put together a 10-0 run to pull ahead 19-13. Alabama would cut the deficit to five on two occasions but couldn’t get any closer.
The third mirrored the start of the second with the Tide starting out on a 5-1 run. This time, however, it would not allow the RedHawks the get any closer than three points for the entire set. Alabama’s largest lead came off a block by Johnson and Salstrand putting the crimson and white in front 19-10. Just when it looked like Miami (Ohio) was going to make a late run, the Tide spouted off three consecutive points to set the score at 24-18. The RedHawks grabbed one more point before a Meuth kill awarded Alabama the set.
The fourth set was close from the get go with seven ties and six lead changes. Miami (Ohio) rattled off three straight points for a 10-7 lead and stayed in front for the duration with the exception of a 13-13 tie. The RedHawks would eventually take the fourth by a score of 25-19 to force the decisive set.
The fifth was all Miami (Ohio) after the first couple series as the RedHawks produced an 11-2 scoring run to jump ahead 13-4. Alabama was able to dish out a run of its own to cut the lead to four, but the comeback would fall short with the RedHawks winning the set 15-10.
“We are starting to play harder as a team,” added Green. “We knew we were going to learn a lot at this tournament and still know there are lots of things we need to work on.”
The Tide will play its first home match of the 2009 season Tuesday when it hosts Alabama A&M at 7:00 p.m. (CST) in the CAVE. Season tickets are still available for $30 and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling the Alabama Ticket Office at 1-877-TIDETIX (843-3849). Single match tickets are available 90 minutes prior to the start of the match at the door. The cost is $3 for adults and free for students and youth ages 18 and under.