TUSCALOOSA, Ala. –Regina Thomas put down 13 kills and hit .400 against the Crimson Tide, but it wasn’t enough to lead the Rebels to victory on Wednesday night as Ole Miss (5-8, 1-4 SEC) fell to Alabama (8-7, 2-3 SEC) by a score of 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 22-25, 20-25).
It marks the fourth consecutive match for Thomas to hit at or above the .400 mark as she led the Rebels on the night. Junior right side hitter Allegra Wells put down 11 kills and junior middle blocker Courtney Cunningham added 10 to help pace the Ole Miss offense.
Despite the offensive performance, it was the errors which proved to be costly for the Rebels against Alabama.
“Playing on the road in the SEC is tough, and you can’t go on the road and make 50 errors and expect to win when giving away that many points,” said Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin. “We have to clean up our first contact so we can keep getting Regina Thomas the ball. She’s doing a great job for us.”
The two squads came out of the gates trading blows with neither team able to gain an advantage of more than three points on the other throughout much of the early portions of the set. Ole Miss gained the lead for good on a service error by Alabama that snapped a tie at 16. The Rebels built on the lead from there, claiming the first set 25-20 on a kill from Allegra Wells.
The nip and tuck nature of the match carried over to the second set with the two squads trading scores again through the opening stages of the second frame. This time, it was Alabama that snagged a lead, breaking a 10-10 tie to push out to a three point advantage that the Rebels could not overtake. Ole Miss would cut the lead to one two times – both on Thomas kills at 15-14 and 17-16 – but Alabama claimed the second set 25-21 to even the match.
Alabama jumped out to a quick start in the third set, moving ahead of the Rebels 5-1 before Ole Miss would storm back to even things at five. The Rebels then used a run of their own to snag the a slim lead that would hold until the Crimson Tide put together a four point run down 21-17 to tie the match.
A service error put Ole Miss on top 22-21, but the Rebels couldn’t hold off Alabama as the home team pushed back and claimed the third set 25-22.
The Crimson Tide jumped out to a 7-3 lead on the Rebels in the fourth set, but the Rebels fought back repeatedly. Despite the efforts at a comeback, Ole Miss couldn’t muster a run to overtake Alabama despite cutting the lead to one point at two separate times in the set. The Crimson Tide used a late run to pull away from Ole Miss and take the match with a 25-20 win in set four.
Ole Miss will return to action on Sunday, hosting in-state rival Mississippi State at 4 p.m. in a match televised by ESPNU.
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