Purdue took its final timeout tied at 22 in the first set. The next three plays were a kill by Blake Mohler, a serving ace by Julianna Reisinger and a block by Shavona Cuttino and Caityln Newton. That sequence won Purdue the first set and led it to a sweep over No. 25 Alabama volleyball team at the Crimson-White Tournament on Friday at Foster Auditorium.
It was the Crimson Tide’s first loss of the season.
“We mentally broke down a little bit,” sophomore Meghan Neelon said. “We keep talking about trying to be together as a team on and off the court, so I think our mentality kind of broke down.”
Alabama struggled to take the lead the entire game. The Crimson Tide led just five times the whole game, four of which came in the first set.
The third set is where the game really got away from Alabama. The Boilermakers jumped out to a 6-2 lead, forcing coach Ed Allen to take his first timeout. He took the last timeout just six points later after Purdue built its lead to 10-4. Purdue won the set 25-15.
“I don’t think it was indicative of the team we’ve been for the first month of the season,” Allen said. “When the pressure was on we struggled to match that intensity throughout the course of the match.”
Alabama struggled on almost all aspects of the game. The Crimson Tide hit just .171 and managed just one block, both of which were season lows. It also made six serving errors.
“We tried to do some things defensively to put blockers in positions that would allow us to defend effectively, we had kids that didn’t fulfill what those assignments were,” Allen said. “I think trying to play mindful is something that we’ve been working on all year long, and we need to continue to work on that.”
Alabama also struggled to just find teammates. Its passing percentage sat at a measly 36.8 percent.
“We just didn’t pass the ball well,” Allen said. “They had more serving aces against us than probably we’ve given up at any point in time all year long.”
The Boilermakers finished with seven aces, which was the most Alabama has allowed this year.
Alabama is back in action on Saturday against Southern Miss.