Volleyball loses in straight sets to Georgia

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Volleyball loses in straight sets to Georgia

CW / Hannah Saad

CW / Hannah Saad

CW / Hannah Saad

CW / Hannah Saad

Javon Williams, Contributing Writer

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Alabama (12-16 overall, 4-13 SEC) lost its seventh straight game on Wednesday night, falling in straight sets to Georgia (20-9 overall, 12-6 SEC).

“I’m pretty proud of the fight,” coach Lindsey Devine said. “I think the hustle plays the team demonstrated were such momentum builders for our team. … Although the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, they fought.”

After the Crimson Tide dropped the first two sets by 25-21 and 25-17, respectively, junior setter Meghan Neelon showed that “fight.” With the Bulldogs on a 4-0 scoring run in the third set, Neelon rushed to the net and set the ball up for senior middle blocker Hayley McSparin. The Alabama bench erupted with cheers, including Devine, who was one of the first to greet Neelon as she was substituted out.

“We knew that if we could have our middles continue to go hard to the setter, then their middle had to stay at home in their base a little longer. We knew from a physicality point and from a skill/execution point, that our middles were going to be able to score.”

The adjustment began to pay dividends, as freshman middle blocker Alyiah Wells and McSparin combined for six kills in the final set. However, a .157 hitting percentage and 15 errors became too much to overcome in the final set, as Georgia eventually won the set, 26-24.

“They pretty much followed our game plan to what we needed them to do, but when you have Georgia’s [outside hitters], they are crafty,” Devine said. “They have a phenomenal setter, so it was tough, but the fight, the will, the drive that our girls demonstrated tonight is where we’ve wanted to go for this program.”

Wells led the team in kills with 10 and was a force for Alabama at net, as she finished with a team-leading five blocks. Junior outside hitter Doris Carter also came up big in the third set, as she registered four of her eight kills toward the end of the set.

The Crimson Tide will host its final match of the season on Saturday, Nov. 30 at noon against the Auburn Tigers.

“We want opponents to come in and say ‘Oh my gosh, we have to play Alabama and that’s tough because they fight and they battle and they don’t give up,'” Devine said. “Tonight, what we reinforced in practice, they saw, so we can reference it. So it is just trust that process, trust your training, have that confidence inside of yourself and good things are eventually going to come along for you.”