OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss volleyball team will hit the road for the final time this season when it faces Alabama and Auburn on Friday and Sunday, respectively. The Rebels will face the Crimson Tide at 7:00 p.m. CT Friday before heading to the Plains to face the Tigers at 1:30 p.m. to close out the weekend.
“We’re looking forward to facing Alabama for the first time this season,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “They have a very balanced attack and a great setter in Sierra Wilson. We’re looking forward to playing another good SEC team.
“We feel like we can compete with Auburn and we showed that when they were here, and now we’re excited to play them at their place.”
Ole Miss (13-15, 3-12 Southeastern Conference) is 5-5 against Alabama over the last five years, including a split last season in which each team won 3-1 on its home floor. Friday will be the two teams’ first meeting of the season. The Rebels got off to a great start in their first match against Auburn this year, winning the opening set 25-14. Auburn rallied in the next three sets though to win the match 3-1.
Ole Miss has been led in kills, hitting percentage and blocks this season by sophomore middle blocker Nakeyta Clair. The Country Club Hills, Ill., native is averaging 2.54 kills per set, is No. 17 in the SEC with a .304 hitting percentage, and is fifth in the conference with 1.16 blocks per set.
Clair’s 96 block assists this season are tied for the most in single-season program history during the rally scoring era, her 118 total blocks are the second most in single-season history, and her 22 solo blocks are third.
Freshmen Melanie Crow and Aubrey Edie continue to shine brightly in their rookie campaigns. Crow is second on the team in kills per set (2.68) during SEC matches, and she has finished with double-digit kill totals in three of the last five matches, including a match high 12 kills against then-No. 17 Kentucky on Sunday. Edie, meanwhile, has posted a team-high seven double-doubles this year, which is tied for the second most in the SEC among rookies. Edie leads the Rebels and all SEC freshmen with 9.07 assists per set this year.
Alabama (21-8, 8-6 SEC) is in the top four of the SEC in all matches in hitting percentage (.257), assists (13.12 per set) and kills (13.97 per set). Wilson is averaging 11.90 assists per set for the Crimson Tide, which is the second highest mark in the league. Redshirt freshman Krystal Rivers is third in the SEC with a .419 hitting percentage, and is fifth in kills with 3.61 kills per set.
Auburn (17-10, 8-7 SEC) enters the weekend ranked second in the conference in league action with 16.34 digs per set. Auburn senior libero Sarah Wroblicky is third in the SEC with 4.63 digs per set in all matches, and is averaging 4.89 digs per set in SEC play. Senior outside hitter Katherine Culwell is currently sixth on the SEC active career kills list with 985 kills, one spot ahead of Ole Miss senior outside hitter Kara Morgan (912).
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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