TUSCALOOSA, Ala.-The University of Alabama volleyball team fell in a four game heartbreaker to Ole Miss today it the first of two matches this week. Down two games, the Tide rallied back to win game three but eventually fell to the Rebels, 27-30, 40-42, 30-25, 25-30. With the loss the Tide falls to 12-5 in the SEC and 15-11 overall.
The Crimson Tide battled the Rebels for over two hours for control of the SEC Western division. With the outcome of tonight’s match both Alabama and Ole Miss sit in first place of the West at 12-5 and will await the outcome of LSU’s (11-5 in the SEC) match with Mississippi State tomorrow.
Despite the loss, Alabama put in a solid team effort and outplayed the Rebels across the board. As a team, the Tide hit .253 to Ole Miss’s .228, tallied 86 digs and posted 10 blocks to the Rebel’s four.
Senior Bridget Fuentez came up big for the Tide as she recorded a match high 21 kills along with 17 digs. Senior Crystal Hudson also had a big offensive night for the Tide as she posted 16 kills and hit .412. On defense, senior Megan Hudson and junior Amy Pauly tallied a team high 18 digs. Hudson’s 18 digs is a new season high in that category.
“We had four kids with double figure kills, that’s good balance,” said Alabama head coach Judy Green. “We out hit them. But again it comes down to serving and passing every time. We did not win the serving game. That was one of the things we didn’t do tonight and we wanted to do that.”
After losing game one, Alabama fought back and took Ole Miss to a 40-42 decision before a service ace by Caitlin Weiss ended the game. The score is the highest single game score since 2002 when Alabama fell to Georgia 43-45.
“I loved their attitude today,” said Green. “I liked how nasty we were playing. We were gritty today and I think that’s a good thing. We have to stay gritty the rest of the way.”
Down two games, the Tide regained its composure and dominated the Rebels in game three. Alabama held Ole Miss to a .190 hitting percentage and the Tide dug 23 balls on defense. Fuentez contributed six kills in the third game as junior Lindsey Buteyn earned five.
Ole Miss closed out the match in game four by shutting down the Tide offense. Two Tide players hit negative for the game and the team hit .179. However, on defense, Alabama out-dug and out-blocked the Rebels with sophomore Liz Salstrand recording four of her six blocks in game four.
Alabama returns to action Sunday, Nov. 11 at 1:30 p.m. as it hosts LSU at the CAVE. Head coach Judy Green will honor her four seniors immediately following the conclusion of the match.
For more information on Alabama volleyball, visit www.rolltide.com.