Courtesy of Carson Redwine
Alabama women’s volleyball failed to claim victory in its first SEC match of the season against Texas A&M (8-3, 1-0 SEC) on Wednesday, Sept. 22. The Crimson Tide (8-5, 0-1 SEC) won the first set of the match, but the Aggies claimed the last three (25-20, 14-25, 22-25,16-25).
“[Texas A&M] is a seasoned team with seniors, and they put pressure on a young team like us, and our youth showed,” head coach Lindsey Devine said.
In the opening set, Alabama had three attack and serving errors, but found its rhythm after the first timeout. Outside hitter Shaye Eggleston pushed the Alabama offense ahead to take the first set.
“I was so pleased with Shaye,” Devine said. “She really embraced the opportunities, she found edges around the block, and she played with a fearless approach.”
Eggleston finished the match with 10 kills, six digs and an ace, beating her season high of eight kills against Miami University
“It was rewarding just being able to perform for my team and make a difference in this game. I’m just really grateful for that,” Eggleston said.
Outside hitter Kendyl Reaugh ended the match with 10 kills, making this her third match of the season with double-digit kills. Reaugh had one block and one service ace.
Setters Brooke Slusser and Emily Janek claimed a combined total of 30 assists and six digs.
After the Crimson Tide claimed its first set win, the Aggies turned up the heat and added 45 kills and seven aces in the remaining three sets. The Aggies ended the match with seven blocks and 68 digs.
“I think we were a little slow to reset and remembering we were on defense, and then we got into a little bit of chaos,” Devine said.
In its match against LSU (5-6, 1-1) on the road, Alabama (8-6, 0-2) lost its five-set battle. This was the Crimson Tide’s second SEC match of the season and the Tigers’ SEC home opener.
In the opening set, the Crimson Tide struggled to put points on the board and trailed the Tigers 8-1 before taking a timeout. Alabama applied pressure with two back-to-back kills from middle blocker Chaise Campbell.
Outside hitter Abby Marjama followed Campbell with two kills and a service ace that narrowed the gap to 9-8. After back-to-back plays and errors from both sides of the net, LSU finished the set with a 6-point scoring run.
In the second set, Marjama picked up a kill to score the first point. The Crimson Tide forced the Tigers into a timeout after going on a 4-point scoring run.
Alabama had the lead before LSU went on a 4-point scoring run and closed the gap to 23-22 prior to an Alabama timeout. Right-side hitter Kennedy Muckelroy grabbed the momentum back with a kill before an LSU error clinched the set for Alabama.
In the third set, outside hitter Shaye Eggleston came out swinging and helped push the Crimson Tide to an early lead with back-to-back kills. With a 12-6 lead, Campbell, Muckelroy and outsider hitter Sami Jacobs put down a combined six kills, forcing LSU into a timeout.
Alabama continued to apply pressure and took the set 25-16.
The Crimson Tide did not bring the same momentum in the fourth set that they had in the previous two. The Tigers led the set 9-4 before outside hitter Kendyl Reaugh fought back with a kill. Setter Brooke Slusser continued to push points for the Crimson Tide with two back-to-back aces.
The push from Reaugh and Slusser was not enough to gain the Crimson Tide the lead, as they still trailed 15-11. The Tigers claimed seven more points to the Crimson Tide’s one and created a big gap in the score, making it 21-12. The Tigers claimed the set 25-14 and pushed the match to a fifth set.
The battle to 15 was intense as Muckelroy set to motion for Alabama with a first-point kill. Due to attack errors from the Tigers, the Crimson Tide took the early lead 5-3. The Crimson Tide lost the lead after a reset from the Tigers, who came back with three kills, forcing Alabama to take a timeout. Both teams continued their push and had seven ties before LSU took the lead all the way to win the set 15-12.
Despite the loss, Eggleston put up 11 kills, one block and four assists, and Reaugh also ended with 11 kills. Slusser ended with 22 assists and four aces. Muckelroy finished with 10 kills and two blocks.
After the game, fans showed their appreciation for the effort the team put in on Saturday.
“Safe travels ladies,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “Hard fought match! Great job!”
The Crimson Tide will be back on the road to face Auburn in two back-to-back games. The matches will be held Saturday, Oct. 2, at 4:30 p.m. CT and Sunday, Oct. 3, at 2 p.m. CT.
The Saturday match will stream on SEC Network+, and Sunday’s match will be broadcast on ESPNU.