Alabama volleyball battles with No. 7 Kentucky, comes up shortBy Ehsan Kassim | 11/09/2017 11:27am
Natalie Murison plays three different positions for Alabama.
Alabama fell to No. 7 Kentucky in four sets on Wednesday afternoon. The Crimson Tide played the Wildcats throughout the match, but could not match the power of Kentucky.
“I thought we defended reasonably well,” said head coach Ed Allen. “We have been a good defending team all year. We’re just limited offensively in terms of the amount of weapons we have.”
Alabama (16-11, 4-9 SEC) traded leads with Kentucky (21-3, 12-1 SEC) in the first set, before Kentucky closes the set on a 15-3 run, to win the sets 25-15.
The second set was a lot closer, but Kentucky took that too to take a 2-0 lead in the match, with a 25-23 set win.
Set three was Alabama’s breakthrough, as it took down Kentucky 25-23 to force a fourth set. Alabama also won a single set in Kentucky earlier this season.
Set four was another close one, with Kentucky making a late run to pull-away and win the set and the match, 25-19.
Outside the 15-3 run Kentucky used to win the first set, the two teams played about evenly as possible on the night, according to head coach Ed Allen.
“A win tonight would have been a huge boost,” Allen said. “This loss won’t hurt us in the RPI, but it could help us with a few points.”
Sophomore Mahalia Swink led the Crimson Tide offense with 14 kills on the night. That included eight in the third set Alabama won.
“When she hits the ball high and really looks to move it around, she does well,” Allen said. “When she tries to pull it down she struggles. She worked the floor well, worked the block well tonight.”
Sophomore Ginger Perinar was the other Alabama player in double-figures in kills. She finished with 11 kills and two of the six Alabama service aces.
“I thought we served the ball well,” Allen said. “We had six serving aces and seven errors. There ain’t a coach in the country that won’t take those numbers.”
Freshman Meghan Neelon collected her 10th double-double of the season, posting 31 assists along with 12 digs.
Senior Leah Lawrence collected three more blocks and is now just five blocks away from the Alabama career record.
Alabama will host Tennessee on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Foster Auditorium.