TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – A back-and-forth, tight opening set that could have gone either way, ultimately went Alabama’s way, and the Ole Miss volleyball team lost 3-0 (30-32, 19-25, 22-25) to the Crimson Tide at Foster Auditorium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Friday night.
“We battled once again, but down the stretch we have to be able to gut it out,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin. “We put ourselves in good situations but didn’t finish the games out.”
Ole Miss sophomore middle blocker Nakeyta Clair finished with a team-high 13 kills on a .360 hitting percentage and three total blocks, including two block assists. It was the sixth time in the past seven matches Clair has recorded double-digit kills, and her two block assists now give her 98 for the year, a new single-season program record.
Freshman setter Aubrey Edie had 26 assists, seven digs and five kills, while junior libero Cara Fisher had a team-high 12 digs. Senior outside hitter Kara Morgan had 10 digs on the evening, giving her 831 digs for her career, the sixth most in Ole Miss history during the rally scoring era.
Ole Miss (13-16, 3-13 Southeastern Conference) dropped a marathon first set that featured 17 ties and seven lead changes. After taking a 5-4 lead early in the first set, Ole Miss held a slim advantage until the home-standing Tide recaptured the lead at 22-21. From there, the two teams showed their fight and intensity while battling deep into extra points. Trailing 21-23, Ole Miss went on a 3-0 run to have its first set-point opportunity. Ole Miss would finish with five set-point chances while Alabama had two set-point chances prior to finally winning the set 32-30. Edie finished the first game with 14 assists, while Clair had five kills.
“We battled hard,” Getzin said. “We did a nice job of competing and matching their intensity throughout that set but just didn’t get the win.”
Ole Miss led 18-16 in the second set before Alabama (22-8, 9-6 SEC) closed it out with a 9-1 run to win 25-19 and take a 2-0 lead going into the intermission. Clair had four kills a solo block and a block assist in the set to lead the Rebels.
The Rebels and Crimson Tide were close once again to start the third set, sharing eight ties en route to a 13-13 score. Alabama then went on a 5-2 run to take an 18-15 lead and held the lead for the remainder of the set to win 25-22 and close out the match.
Ole Miss will now travel to Auburn, Ala., to face the Auburn Tigers (18-10, 9-7 SEC) on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Auburn entered the weekend ranked second in the conference in league action with 16.34 digs per set. The Tigers’ senior libero, Sarah Wroblicky, is third in the SEC with 4.57 digs per set in all matches, and is averaging 4.77 digs per set in SEC play. Auburn opened its weekend with a 3-0 win over Tennessee on Friday.
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, go to OleMissSports.com and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and on Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
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