Alabama won the opening set in its home opener Tuesday night in Foster Auditorium before Kennesaw State came back and won the next three, handing the Crimson Tide the four-set loss.
Alabama (8-2) held off a late run by Kennesaw State (7-3) in the first set to win, 25-22. The Tide made a late push in the second, drawing within three before the Owls answered with three of their own to win, 25-19, and tie the match at 1-1. Kennesaw State took a 2-1 match lead with a 25-14 decision in the third and edged out a close 25-23 win in the fourth to close out the match.
For the Crimson Tide, junior Doris Carter led the team with eight kills along with three solo blocks and a block assist. As a team, Alabama out-blocked Kennesaw State 11-4 with five different Tide players earning defensive points at the net. Senior Ginger Perinar had three of the team’s five service aces, marking a new season high for the Channahon, Ill., native.
- Kills – Doris Carter (8)
- Assists – Mylana Byrd (31)
- Aces – Ginger Perinar (3)
- Blocks – Ginger Perinar, Doris Carter (4)
- Digs – Kaylee Thomas (14)
- Set One (Alabama 25, Kennesaw State 22): The opening frame was tightly-contested from the start, with 12 tie scores before Kennesaw State held the slim 15-14 edge at the media timeout. Later with the Owls leading 18-16, a service ace gave the Tide back possession and an ace from freshman PG Garrison and three more unanswered points swung the lead in Alabama’s favor, 21-18. A 4-1 run from Kennesaw State tied it back up late, 22-22, before an Owl service error, an ace from Perinar and a kill from senior Hayley McSparin closed out the three-point win for Alabama.
- Set Two (Kennesaw State 25, Alabama 19): Kennesaw State held the early momentum in the second, moving ahead 8-4 before Alabama took an early timeout. The Owls’ lead extended to six points at the Tide’s second timeout, 13-7, and increased to as much as seven before Alabama started to claw back. Trailing 19-12, the Tide went on a 7-3 run capped by three-straight points to draw within three as Kennesaw State burned its first timeout at 22-19. The Owls scored three in a row after the break however to end the set and even the match.
- Set Three (Kennesaw State 25, Alabama 14): Five unanswered points from Kennesaw State early in the set pushed the visitors ahead 7-3 and Alabama again spent an early timeout. The Owls kept the Tide at arm’s length throughout the middle of the set, gradually increasing their lead until a late run put them ahead by double-digits at 20-10. They reached set point by the same margin and a kill on the next rally gave them the 25-14 victory and the 2-1 match advantage.
- Set Four (Kennesaw State 25, Alabama 23): Early momentum again favored the visitors but the Tide dug out of an early four-point hole to draw within one. Leading 10-9, Kennesaw State scored four-straight to lead 14-9 but a 5-2 run from Alabama cut the deficit down to two points, 16-14. Later with the Owls leading 21-16, a service error spurned a 6-0 run from the Tide to push ahead, 22-21. After trading points to make it 23-22, three-straight kills from the Owls ended the set and gave Kennesaw State the match in four.
Keys to the Match
- While Kennesaw State committed 12 service errors, they also finished with 11 aces as opposed to just five from Alabama.
- The Tide’s front-row defense was stout, posting a season-high 11 blocks along with a number of block touches to keep rallies alive.
Alabama is back on the road this weekend, traveling to Tallahassee, Fla., to face No. 23 Florida State on Friday, Sept. 20 at 5 p.m. CT.