Volleyball on the edge of a tournament bid with final matches loomingBy Ehsan Kassim | 11/22/2017 3:05pm
After losing its first set, Alabama won three straight sets to upset LSU on Sunday.
The Alabama volleyball team is not ready to allow its season to end just yet.
Alabama enters Wednesday’s match against Missouri with an 18-12 overall record and a 6-10 SEC record. The team’s square off at 5 p.m.
With just two games left on the regular season schedule, head coach Ed Allen knows that the team’s next two games are going to be make-or-break for the team’s chances of making the NCAA tournament.
“I think both of them are,” Allen said. “Both of them are matches that we need to come up with and if we do, then I think we have a great chance to be in the tournament. If we don’t, we will probably end our season.”
The Crimson Tide came in at No. 56 in the final RPI rankings before the NCAA Selection Show. Its opponents this week ranked at No. 34 (Missouri) and 59 (Texas A&M).
Alabama did help itself with a big win over LSU on Sunday, ranked No. 38 in the final rankings.
According to Allen, beating LSU helps the Crimson Tide, as Missouri is a similar opponent.
“They are two teams that are not only similar in RPI, but competitively as well,” Allen said. “If we play as well as we did against LSU, we should come out with a victory.”
Junior Quincey Gary’s main motivation for getting the team to the NCAA tournament is simple.
“We want to send our seniors out on a good note,” Gary said. “They have meant so much to this year and this program. All six of them have been great leaders and people that I have always looked up to.”
With a young team, Gary believes the older leadership of the team will set the tone for how the team plays in a tough road environment.
“We just need to control the energy and control our side of the net and what we can control,” Gary said. “Previously we have made a lot of errors when we have been away, unforced errors. So just controlling that aspect and controlling the mental side will help us.”
The Alabama seniors will be celebrated this Saturday against Texas A&M on senior day. The match is scheduled for 12 p.m. at Foster Auditorium.
“It’s going to be bittersweet,” Allen said. “It’s going to be great to celebrate their accomplishments and they are a group that is a part of making history here, in terms of winning the first ever NCAA match. They have done a great job of setting and breaking records, setting school records for wins in a season.”
Saturday is all about the seniors according to Gary. But she also wants to make sure that the Texas A&M match is not the last in the careers of the seniors.
“We’re going to celebrate them before and after the match,” Gary said. “We’re going to bring a lot of energy and hopefully it is not our last match, but it might be our last match. We’re going to creep the energy up and just have a good time for them.”
Gary enters the match against Missouri with 504 digs, becoming the first player under Allen to surpass the 500 digs mark. She is currently fourth in the SEC and sits 112 digs away from the record Amy Pauly set in 2007.
“I think she’s a kid that brings a lot to the team,” Allen said. “Not only in terms of records, but also team culture. She is a good leader and competitor and she is another one of those players that have helped us push the program further.”
Gary did not know of her accomplishment and brushes it off, as she believes team accomplishments are more important than any individual accomplishment.
“Our goal is to make the tournament and we aren’t going to be satisfied until we get there,” Gary said.