Ole Miss Volleyball Falls to Alabama in Back and Forth Affair

Published 12:18 pm Monday, February 8, 2021

OXFORD, Miss.— In the second matchup between Ole Miss and Alabama, the two teams battled back and forth in a five-set contest Saturday at the Gillom Center, with the Crimson Tide ultimately coming out on top in a thrilling 3-2 affair.

The second five-setter in as many days between the two sides, the matchup was the epitome of tight, with 61 total ties  featured throughout the five sets. Four Rebels finished with double figure kills, highlighted by Anna Bair with 21.

In the first set, Alabama (4-8) went up 2-0 before an Ole Miss (0-10) kill by Aubrey Sultemeier started off the Rebel day. Ole Miss capitalized off of errors and two straight Carvacho kills to take the lead at 5-3 before Alabama stormed back with a 3-0 run to regain the advantage at 6-5. Middle blocker Sasha Ratliff continued to prove her place at the net with her second block early on as the Rebels began to take control of the set 15-13. With the opening stanza deadlocked late, Ole Miss was able to take three-straight points to finalize the set with an Anna Bair kill at 25-22. Sultemeier dominated the set for the Rebs with four kills, hitting at a .800 clip.

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Sasha Ratliff continued her prowess into the second set with two huge early kills for the Rebels to put them up at 7-4 before Alabama worked their way up the scoreboard to tie up the set at eight all. After errors were traded back and forth to square the score at 16 all, the Crimson Tide took off on a 4-0 spurt to lead 19-16. Ole Miss countered with four-straight points of its own to tie the set up yet again at 20 all, with a total of 14 ties for the set. Facing an Ole Miss set point at 24-23, Alabama finished on a 4-1 run to win 27-25.

An early Samantha Schnitta ace tied the third set up early at four all, followed by back-to-back Ratliff kills to put the Rebels up by one at 6-5. UA began to build a lead at 13-9, forcing an Ole Miss timeout. After trading shots, Ole Miss exploded on a 4-0 run to knot the set at 17 all. After being all locked up at 20 all, attack errors by Alabama and a Carvacho kill put the Rebs up late at 23-21. The Tide went on a 3-0 run to lead 25-24 but Ole Miss showed its mettle. A kill and ensuing service ace from Carvacho regained the lead for Ole Miss, ultimately taking the set 29-27.

After trailing early in the set by two, Ole Miss began a 4-0 run with Schnitta’s seventh kill of the day to lead 5-3. UA responded with a 4-0 run before the Rebels struck back with three-straight kills including Bair’s 16th of the match, going up 9-8. The set was tied for the 10th time at 16 all, before an ace from Callaway Cason gave the home team a narrow edge. The Crimson Tide began to pull away with a 4-0 run to lead 23-19 and ultimately took the set 25-20.

The final set started off highly contested with six ties within the first seven points, ultimately ending with 13 total by sets end. A kill from Bair brought it to 14 all, but Alabama countered with two-straight to take the deciding set 16-14.

Ole Miss hits the road for the first time this spring with a trip to in-state rival Mississippi State in Starkville, Mississippi, Feb. 11-12. The Rebels are riding a four-match win streak against the Bulldogs heading into the series. Both matches will air on SEC Network + at Noon.

Follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB,Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball, and on Instagram at @olemissvb. You can also follow head coach Kayla Banwarth on Twitter @KaylaBanwarth2.