The Crimson White

Alabama volleyball rallies for five set victory over Tennessee

Scarlet VanMeter

Scarlet VanMeter

Alabama defeated Tennessee to improve to 17-11 on the season.

Ehsan Kassim

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Alabama defeated Tennessee in five sets on Sunday and in the process, senior Leah Lawrence broke a long-standing record for the university.

Alabama (17-11, 5-9 SEC) dropped the opening set to Tennessee (11-13, 4-11 SEC), 21-25, but were able to bounce back and win the second set, 25-17. The Volunteers owned the third set, winning 25-17, before Alabama forced a fifth set by winning the fourth set 25-18.

The Crimson Tide were able to close out the match with a 15-11 set five victory, to win the match, 3-2.

Head coach Ed Allen complimented his team’s ability to comeback from a rough third set.

“They are a team that is resilient,” Allen said. “They fight hard and they put themselves in a position to go to the fifth set a lot. And when they are there, they play pretty comfortably in that fifth set. We’ve only lost one fifth set all season.”

Lawrence ended the match with six blocks, bringing her career total to 439, besting the previous record of 438 held by Shelly Adamcik (1999-2002). 

“It’s so exciting,” Lawrence said. “I just really want to thank all of my teammates, my coaches, my family and God and everybody that helps me be able to get this accomplished.

She does not believe the fact she set the record has kicked in yet.

Under head coach Ed Allen, the Crimson Tide have now broken records blocks, assists and kills.

“It’s a fantastic honor for her to have, she’s been terrific middle blocker for us for four years,” Allen said. “We have had a chance to rewrite a lot of record the last seven years.”

Lawrence was one of the four Alabama players in double-figures for the match, finishing with 12. 

Sophomore Hayley McSparin led Alabama with 17 kills and had a .520 hitting percentage, her top mark in SEC play this season.

Sophomore Ginger Perinar finished second on the team with 15 kills, while sophomore Mahalia Swink finished with a double-double, collecting 14 kills and 10 digs.

“We have to work around and see who’s at the top of their game at the time,” Lawrence said. “Meghan (Neelon) is doing a good job of delivering the ball when she needs to get the ball to the best person to get the kill.”

Freshman Meghan Neelon also collected a double-double for the match, finishing with 56 assists and 11 digs.

Junior Quincey Gary finished with 17 digs for the match, bringing her season total to 478, the highest under Allen.

Alabama returns to action on Friday at South Carolina for a 6 p.m. match. 

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Alabama volleyball rallies for five set victory over Tennessee