TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Ole Miss Rebels volleyball team (7-6, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) received a season-high tying 14-kill performance from senior right side hitter Allegra Wells, and a match-high 15-dig performance from Ashley Veach, but it wasn't enough to top Alabama on the road. The Rebels made a number of rallies throughout the match, but couldn't grab the road victory, falling to Alabama 3-1 (22-25, 22-25, 25-21, 22-25).
"I thought we did a good job of being on the road, persevering and we kept coming at them," Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. "I thought there were a lot of times where we could have given up, but we didn't. We took good control of game three and we could have done a little bit more to finish out in game four."
Wells led Ole Miss offensively with a season-high tying 14 kills, including five in the final set. It was Wells' eighth double-digit kill performance in the last nine matches, and her ninth overall. Senior setter Amanda Philpot finished with 30 assists, including 11 in the fourth set, eight kills and six digs. Veach finished with a match-high 15 digs for the Rebels. It was the seventh straight match that Veach has recorded a dozen or more digs.
Ole Miss jumped out to an early lead in the first set and took a 12-8 lead to prompt an Alabama timeout. Coming out of the break, Alabama fed off the home crowd's energy and went on a 6-1 run. The Crimson Tide kept their momentum and took set point with a four-point advantage over the Rebels. Ole Miss fought off set point twice, but a strong kill by Alabama freshman outside hitter Laura Steiner finished the set with the Crimson Tide taking a 25-22 victory.
Alabama raced out to an early lead in the second set and held a 17-9 advantage before the Rebels went on a furious and valiant rally to pull within a single point at 18-17. The Rebels trailed by one point again at 22-21, but couldn't overtake the Crimson Tide and fell in the second set by a 25-22 count.
Ole Miss continued to fight in the third set in the same fashion it did in the second set. The Rebels raced out to an early 4-1 lead in the third and held it for the remainder of the set. Alabama pulled within two at 21-19 late in the set, but a kill and ace by Philpot pushed the Rebels' lead back to four and they would go on to win the set 25-21.
The fourth set featured a number of long rallies and the never-say-quit Rebels again fought back from a deficit midway through the set to pull even. Trailing 16-11, the Rebels went on a 7-2 run to tie the set at 18 points apiece. Ole Miss took three separate one-point leads as the match wound down, but Alabama always had an answer and took the set and the match 25-22.
"Facing a scrappy Alabama team, I thought we had our chances," Getzin said. "In game four we had an opportunity at 22-22, but we just didn't take advantage of it."
Ole Miss finishes its weekend Sunday with a match at South Carolina at 12:30 p.m. CT. The Rebels are 7-10 against South Carolina in the Getzin era, and are 3-1 against the Gamecocks in the last two seasons. Each team won on the opposing team's floor last season, as Ole Miss dropped a 3-1 decision to South Carolina in Oxford before defeating the Gamecocks 3-0 in Columbia.
The Gamecocks boast one of the top active kill leaders in the SEC in junior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin, who has recorded 891 kills in her three-year career. Thévenin is averaging 4.31 kills per set this season in all matches, and an SEC-high 4.75 kills per set in conference action.
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, including a recap of Sunday's match at South Carolina, go to OleMissSports.com, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and go to Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
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