RICHMOND, Va. – Alabama opened its weekend at the VCU Invitational Friday morning with a three-set sweep over Navy.

Alabama (4-0) and Navy (2-2) battled through two tight sets to start the match, with the Crimson Tide earning narrow 25-21 and 25-22 victories to take a 2-0 match lead. Leading 14-11 just past the halfway mark in the third, the Tide found a rhythm and closed the frame with a convincing 11-2 run to win, 25-13, and cap the sweep.

Graduate student Brooke Kuhlman led all players with 11 kills, hitting .304 along with nine digs. Sophomore Mylana  Byrd paced the offense with 24 assists and added four blocks at the net, including a career-best three solo blocks.

Facing a 2-1 match deficit, Alabama won the fourth to force a deciding final set but tournament host VCU ultimately took the fifth, 15-12, to hand the Crimson Tide its first loss of the season.

Alabama (4-1) rallied from a 25-17 loss in the first to defeat VCU (4-2) in the second, 25-18. The Rams answered to win by the same margin in the third before a big run late in the fourth propelled the Tide to a 25-17 win in the fourth to even it at 2-2. Alabama pulled within one late in the fifth but VCU held on to win by three and hand the Tide its first loss of the season.

Freshman Alyiah Wells led all players with 16 kills, hitting .483 along with a team-leading four blocks. Senior Ginger Perinar was also in double figures with 12, her highest total of the season. Junior Meghan Neelon and sophomore Mylana Byrd split the setting duties, combining for 51 of the team’s 53 assists, with Neelon adding a career-best four service aces.

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