AUBURN – Big scoring runs helped Alabama volleyball earn a key 3-1 road win over in-state rival Auburn Wednesday night.
Alabama (10-4, 2-1 SEC) won the opening set over Auburn (6-8, 0-3 SEC), 25-23, and used a pair of huge comebacks in the second to take a 2-0 match lead, with a 12-3 run giving the Crimson Tide a 17-16 lead and six-straight points to close out the set at 25-23. The Tigers avoided the sweep with a 25-18 win in the third, but another big scoring run in the fourth helped give Alabama back the lead for good, winning 25-20 to complete the four-set win.
Freshman Alyiah Wells and senior Ginger Perinar both tallied double-digit kills with 14 and 12, respectively. Senior Hayley McSparin hit .462 with eight kills along with four blocks. Freshman Emily Janek finished with a season-best 45 assists while junior Kaylee Thomas dug a career-best 24 balls.
“I liked how we competed. We just had to keep working together as a team,” Alabama coach Linsey Devine said. “I thought that our backcourt defense kept us in the match. Between that and our pass game, those were difference-makers in long rallies and really the difference-makers for the entire match. Hayley McSparin was offensively really strong and Emily Janek continues to find ways to connect with her attackers. To come into somebody else’s gym, especially an in-state rival, and win is very difficult. We stayed the course overall. We had moments where we slipped but I liked the leadership of Kaylee Thomas tonight. She got us back on track and helped us put together a great win tonight.”
Alabama travels to Athens, Georgia, to face the Georgia Bulldogs (9-4, 1-1 SEC) on Sunday at 1 p.m.