TUSCALOOSA, Ala- No. 25 Alabama volleyball extended its winning streak to 11-straight games with a win over South Alabama before suffering its first loss of the season to No. 15 Purdue Friday at Foster Auditorium.
The Crimson Tide (11-0) opened play at the Crimson-White Tournament Friday morning with a four-set win over South Alabama (6-6), posting scores of 25-21, 17-25, 25-15 and 25-19. The win stretched Alabama's winning streak to 11 games, the Tide's longest winning streak since 2012. Senior Quincey Gary led the team with eight digs, which moves her to seventh in career digs at Alabama with 1,149. On the offensive end, sophomore Doris Carter and junior Giger Perinar led the team with 16 kills each, hitting .324 and .333, respectively.
In the second match of the day, Alabama was stymied by No. 15 Purdue (10-0), limited to a .171 hitting percentage while the Boilermakers hit .327 as a team in the three-set sweep. The Tide fought to a close three-point loss in the opening set, 22-25, but Purdue won the next two by increasing margins of 19-25 and 15-25, respectively.
MATCH ONE: ALABAMA 3, SOUTH ALABAMA 1
With Alabama down 2-1 early in the opening set, The Tide rebounded to score seven-straight points to build an 8-2 lead. South Alabama clawed away at the deficit, eventually scoring four-straight to draw within one at the Tide's first timeout, 17-16. Momentum swung back Alabama's way in the closing points, with a service ace from sophomore Kaylee Thomas bringing up set point, 24-20, in the eventual 25-21 win.
The teams battled evenly to start the second set, with South Alabama maintaining a slim lead. The Jaguars led 15-13 at the media timeout and a 3-1 run extended the lead to 18-14 before Alabama called a team timeout. Another 3-1 run for Jaguars extended the margin to 21-15 at the Tide's next timeout. South Alabama held steady to win the set, 25-17, and even the match at 1-1.
South Alabama scored three-straight points to open the third set but Alabama quickly responded with four unanswered. After three tie scores, Alabama went on an 8-2 run to build a 15-9 at the media timeout, capped by a streak of four straight heading into the break. The Tide kept rolling in the second half, eventually winning off back-to-back kills from Carter to win, 25-15.
After challenging the very first point and overturning it in the Tide's favor, Alabama added three more to take a 4-0 lead. South Alabama fought back to take a one-point lead twice before the 10-point mark, but a four-point swing put Alabama back in front, 12-9, as the Jaguars called a timeout. South Alabama would fight back to a one-point deficit at 14-13 and 15-14, but that was the closest the score would be down the stretch as Alabama held steady to win, 25-19, and take the 3-1 match victory.
MATCH TWO: PURDUE 3, ALABAMA 0
Down 8-5 early, Alabama bounced back with a 6-1 run to lead 11-9. Purdue edged back ahead at the media timeout, 15-14, and a kill from junior Hayley McSparin off an overpass eventually tied it back up at 19-19 as the Boilermakers called a timeout. A block from McSparin and freshman Mylana Byrd after break made it 20-19 but the Tide found itself trailing soon after, taking a timeout down 21-20. The teams were tied at 22-22 before Purdue closed out the frame with three-straight to win, 25-22.
Purdue held a slim lead early in set two before a service ace from Gary ties it at 11-11. The Boilermakers led 15-13 at media timeout and 19-15 at Alabama's first timeout. Two quick points for the Tide after the break on a kill from Perinar and ace from sophomore Meghan Neelon forced Purdue to call a timeout. Alabama scored one more to draw within one point but Purdue pulled back ahead with three-straight, including back-to-back aces, before the Tide called a timeout down 22-18. Purdue held on to win, 25-19, and take a 2-0 match lead.
Purdue got off to a hot start in the third, forcing Alabama to burn its two team timeouts trailing 6-2 and 10-4. Purdue kept the momentum for the remainder of the set, eventually winning by double-digits, 25-15, to complete the sweep.
Alabama concludes play at the Crimson-White Tournament Saturday, facing Southern Miss (6-6) at 2 p.m. CT.