OXFORD, Miss. – Alabama volleyball fell to Ole Miss in four sets on the road Sunday, winning the first set 25-18 before dropping the next three 21-25, 24-26 and 22-25.
Alabama (11-4, 0-2 SEC) and Ole Miss (9-5, 1-1 SEC) split the first two sets and with the Tide at set point in the third frame, 24-17, the Rebels fought back with a 9-0 run to win the set and take a 2-1 match lead. Ole Miss won another close contest in the fourth set, 25-22, to cap the victory for the Rebels and hand the Tide its second conference loss of the young season.
Alabama had three players with double-digit kills, led by sophomores Ginger Perinar and Hayley McSparin with 13 each while freshman Christine Jarman was close behind with 12. Freshman setter Meghan Neelon tallied her third double-double of the season, finishing with 40 assists and 15 digs, and junior Quincey Gary led the defense with 22 digs.
Alabama scored the opening point in set one and held the early momentum, with a 3-0 run extending the Tide’s lead to 8-3 before Ole Miss called a timeout. Alabama’s lead would extend to as large as seven points before Ole Miss began to claw back just past the halfway mark as six unanswered points cut the Tide’s lead to 14-13. Later leading 18-16, a kill and service ace from Leah Lawrence on consecutive points gave the Tide a four-point lead and Ole Miss called its second team timeout. Alabama closed out the frame with a 5-2 run to win 25-18 and take the early match lead.
The Rebels opened up the second set with three-straight points and would eventually move ahead 7-2 before the Tide took a timeout. Ole Miss scored a point after the timeout but Alabama then scored five unanswered points, including three blocks, to draw within one point and the Rebels took its first team timeout with the lead now at 8-7. Alabama continued its run after the break with three more points to take a 10-8 lead. Ole Miss soon retook the lead, 13-12, and remained in front with Alabama eventually calling a timeout trailing 21-17. The Rebels would hold on to win the set by the same margin, 25-21, and even the match at 1-1.
Alabama took an early 7-3 lead in set three but Ole Miss quickly fought back to tie the score at 9-9. The score would be tied five more times but the Tide would not fall behind, leading 15-14 at the media timeout. Three more points from Alabama after the media timeout extended its lead to 18-14 and Ole Miss looked to regroup with a team timeout. A 4-1 run from the Tide after that timeout forced the Rebels to take its second timeout now trailing 22-15. Alabama reached set point, 24-17, but Ole Miss scored five-straight points to draw within two and force the Tide to take both its timeouts in the process. The Rebels continued to surge in the closing points, scoring four-straight to win the set, 26-24, and take a 2-1 match lead.
With Alabama up 5-3 early in set four, momentum would swing back to the home team with a 6-1 run to put Ole Miss ahead 9-6. The Rebels were back in front at the media timeout, 15-14, and a service ace later made it a two-point game at the 20-point mark and the Tide took a timeout. Ole Miss took its first team timeout with a two-point lead at 23-21 and would eventually win the set, 25-22, to win the match.
Next up, Alabama returns home for a pair of SEC matches, starting with Arkansas (11-3, 1-1 SEC) on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. CT on the SEC Network. The Tide then hosts Missouri (8-7, 1-1 SEC) on Sunday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. CT in Foster Auditorium.