Volleyball puts itself in 5-set match situations

Volleyball puts itself in 5-set match situations

The Crimson Tide volleyball team will host the Mississippi Bulldogs at home on Wednesday at 5 p.m. CW File

Kayla Montgomery

Alabama enters the match off of a road weekend, falling to a top-10 Florida in Gainesville, Florida, Friday before beating South Carolina in five sets Sunday. Sunday marked the Crimson Tide’s sixth five-set match of the season. Despite difficulty earlier in the season after topping Memphis, the team has won its previous two five-set matches.

“I think it just shows that we’ve been practicing a lot harder, and we know that it’s important to come up with a win,” said Natalie Murison, freshman libero/defensive specialist. “It shows that we’re getting physically tougher and able to come out with a victory.”

Though the team has found itself on the winning side of five-set matches recently, sophomore Brittany Thomas said sometimes the young team puts itself into situations with unforced errors and then must respond to the situation.

“We’ve definitely gotten mentally tougher, and I think us it’s from playing tougher matches that we kind of get ourselves into, and being able to just pull through,” Thomas said. “We’re being resilient to losing, just putting our foot down.”

Coach Ed Allen said though certain lapses in match play are expected for such a young team, the group has created an area for heightened concern in its ability to let a match lead escape before capitalizing on it, pointing largely to Sunday’s match at South Carolina.

“They’re scoring four or five points at a time, and it doesn’t matter if it’s off to a bad start,” Allen said. “We had a five-point lead evaporate in the fourth set, and a four-point lead evaporate in the fifth set. Why are we getting into that? It’s our inability to execute skill and then our inability to deal with those inadequacies in a very strong way.”

Despite the youth of the team, Allen said the group is still on track to set a school record for season wins, but first, the players must learn to better handle adversity.

“We’re a team that is very dependent on things going well right now, and a team that has to be able to deal with more adversity as we continue to mature.”

Although Mississippi State will travel to Tuscaloosa tomorrow, the team has not fared well in this season. However, Allen said it will still be competitive. The Crimson Tide must adapt to the challenges of a midweek match, which allows for only one day of practice before it takes the court.

“There are no easy matches,” he said. “They’re going to come in here compete with the house’s money because they have nothing to lose.”