Volleyball team's offensive struggles continue in loss to WildcatsBy Cody Estremera | 10/31/2016 1:03am
After having the season’s worst hitting percentage against Tennessee on Friday, the Crimson Tide continued its cold streak against No. 22 Kentucky.
Alabama’s season worst hitting percentage was .100 before Sunday,but after the matchup with the Wildcats the lowest percentage dropped to.071.
“We are looking for a left side that can hit for positive numbers,” coach Ed Allen said. “It’s tough to win when you aren’t getting positive numbers.”
Kentucky is among the top 15 teams in the country in blocks per set with 2.84, led by Kaz Brown. Brown is one of the top defenders in the country ranked at No. 23 with 1.37 blocks per set herself. The 6-foot-4-inch sophomore finished with three of the team’s seven solo blocks.
Kentucky controlled the game from the very first serve. Even though Alabama took the lead six times throughout the match, the team's largest lead was only 3. That lead would quickly slip away.
The Wildcats were able to go on runs seemingly at will. The largest was a 9-0 run in the third set to seal the win. Natalie Murison said that the team needs to just come together and take a deep breath and can calm down so each player can focus on their individual jobs.
The second set is where Kentucky slowed Alabama down the most. The Crimson Tide had a -.057 hitting percentage, while Kentucky finished with a .250 percentage. The Wildcats won the set by 10 points.
The Wildcats had three players dialed in on offense. Brown finished with 10 kills and a hitting percentage of .769. Darian Mack also had 10 kills and she finished with a hitting percentage of .455. Leah Edmonds- No. 39 on the NCAA kills leader board- finished with 9 kills.
NCAA kills leader Krystal Rivers was the lone bright spots for the Crimson Tide. Rivers added 19 kills to her 517 season total, finishing with a .236 hitting percentage. She is now at 1,994 career kills, just 96 back of the Alabama all-time kills record.
The team feels that it is missing energy during the games, especially early on.
“We need to come out stronger in the first set,” Murison said. “We are kind of slow and it takes us a while to get going. A lot of teams that we’ve been playing have been bringing a lot of energy. We need to communicate more and celebrating after we score a point.”
Alabama had trouble communicating during the match today. There were several instances where teammates were taking other player’s balls. Murison said that trust is the key to eliminating the miscues. If everyone does their job, then it makes everyone else’s job a lot easier.
Alabama travels to College Station, Texas on Thursday to take on Texas A&M.