OXFORD, Miss. -- On Senior Night in Gillom Athletics Performance Center, Ole Miss volleyball prevailed for the series sweep over Alabama Sunday, downing the Tide 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-16, 25-15).
The Rebels improve to 14-17, 4-13 on the season, while the Tide drops to 19-11, 6-10. The win over Alabama marks Head Coach Steven McRoberts sixth in the last seven contests against the Tide, and the third straight.
Veteran Caroline Adams turned in 20 digs and junior Emily Stroup added her league-leading 15thdouble-double of the season with 24 kills and 16 digs, marking the 12th time this season she's recorded 20 kills or more in a match.
All four seniors contributed, as right sides Caitlin Wernentin and Delaney Gallagher added eight and three kills, respectively, while middle blocker Audrey Fischer registered two kills. Wernentin turned in four solo blocks (a new career best) and Gallagher added three as the four wrapped their Gillom careers in outstanding fashion.
Also noteworthy was sophomore setter Lauren Bars, who registered her second-straight double-double with 40 assists and 15 digs, junior middle Nayo Warnell turned in seven kills on a .400 hitting percentage, while freshman Aubrey Sultemeier collected six kills and a trio of blocks.
The contest began as a back-and-forth affair early in the opening stanza, until Ole Miss used a 5-0 run, aided by two Stroup slams, to even things at 9-9. The Rebels continued to swing strongly, picking up three consecutive points to build a four-point lead at 19-15.
Things continued to stay in favor of Ole Miss, who registered the final three points on a pair of Wernentin kills and took the set in demanding fashion on a block from Sultemeier and Stroup for the 25-18 win and early match lead.
The Rebels kept the momentum in the second frame, rallying for five straight points to take a 9-5 lead on kills from Stroup and Fischer, a block from Gallagher, and a pair of Tide miscues. Alabama began to narrow the gap, using their own 5-0 run to even the score at 13 all.
What ensued was a game of cat-and-mouse, as the two squads endured 10 ties from that point forward. The Tide pulled ahead, taking the final four points to even the match with a 25-22 set victory. Despite dropping the set, Ole Miss was hitting as high as .381 as a team throughout the frame.
The trading points continued in the third game, until the Rebels used a kill each from Sultemeier and Stroup and another Alabama error to build a 10-8 lead. The Tide responded with their own 3-0 rally, including back-to-back aces, to shift control, if only briefly.
Back-to-back slams from Stroup returned the lead to the Rebels, who went on to take the next two points for a 4-0 run and a 16-13 lead. Ole Miss continued to build cushion, using blocks from the trio of Wernentin, Sultemeier and Gallagher to guide the squad to a five-point lead at 20-15.
The Rebels remained on cruise control, registering the final five points to regain match control at 25-16.
Ole Miss built its biggest lead of the match in set four, leading by eight points at 13-5 after securing seven consecutive points via the strong swinging of Stroup and a trio of Tide miscues. They continued to add cushion, going up by an overwhelming 12 points at 21-9 after yet another one-side run, this one by six points. The Rebels capitalized on four straight Alabama errors.
The Tide refused to go down easy, taking four consecutive points to trim the lead. After a block from Wernentin set up match point for the Rebels, she then decisively ended her Gillom career with a perfectly executed kill to hand the Rebels the 25-15 set and the match.
Ole Miss will conclude its 2018 season next Saturday, traveling to Knoxville for a post-Thanksgiving rematch with No. 22 Tennessee.