TUSCALOOSA, Ala. —
Marshall volleyball was defeated by tournament host Alabama in four sets (25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 25-11) to open play Friday at the Hampton Inn Bama Bash.
The Herd (4-5) was led by Joelle Coulter's
14 kills and nine digs. Shelby Conley
added 10 kills for Marshall, while Ivana Trencheva
tallied seven kills. Gabrielle Coulter
recorded 39 assists and Amber Weber
had 11 digs to lead the Herd. Alabama (7-0) was led by a balanced attack, with five players posting 10 or more kills. The Crimson Tide was led by Doris Carter's 14 kills. Ginger Perinar and Mahalia Swink added 12 and 11 kills, respectively, while Cidavia Hall and Hayley McSparin tallied 10 kills apiece.
"I thought Gabby did a wonderful job doing the things we needed to be successful," head coach Mitch Jacobs
said. "Jojo was again fantastic offensively. But all in all, I thought Amber was the best player on the floor for us. It doesn't show in the stat sheet, but she leads us and when we lost the lead in set three, she really fired it up out there and everyone rose to the level we needed to take the set."
The Herd and Crimson Tide exchanged scoring runs in a back-and-forth first set. Marshall had a chance to grab the opening set after Isa Dostal's
service ace gave the Herd a two-point lead, 23-21, but Alabama scored the last four points to take the opening set, 25-23.
"A lot of the match outcome comes down to finishing set one when we had the chance," Jacobs said. "I thought we played really hard, but Alabama made the right plays down the stretch and we didn't. That's 100 percent on me to be better for the team right there."
Alabama pulled away in the middle stages of the second set. After trading scoring runs early in the set, the Crimson Tide went on an 8-1 run to take a 17-9 lead. The Herd countered with a four-point run, highlighted by a Jayden Jacobs
service ace, late in the set, but Alabama took the second set, 25-19, and went into the intermission with a 2-0 lead.
"Set two got away from us early, but we fought and regained some momentum, even though we lost the set," Jacobs said.
Marshall jumped out to a 13-5 lead early in the third set, capped by a pair of Joelle Coulter
service aces. Alabama used a lengthy run to tie the set at 18 and took a 20-19 lead, but two kills by Conley, a service ace from Autumn Elswick
and a Destiny Leon
kill clinched the third set for Marshall, 25-23, forcing a fourth set.
"We were able to continue the momentum and got off to a great set three start," Jacobs said. "Like set one, Alabama pushed back, but this time the kids really hung tough, played fast and we got the set."
The Herd's momentum from the third set did not carry over, as the Crimson Tide jumped out to a 9-4 lead and never looked back. A 9-2 Alabama run put the match out of reach, 23-9. The Crimson Tide used a kill by Perinar to clinch the set, 25-11, and the match, 3-1.
"Set four got away from us early and then it just dominoed," Jacobs said. "Give Alabama all the credit, they are experienced and when they got us down, they really kept the pressure on and we kind of broke."
The Herd is back in action at the Hampton Inn Bama Bash Friday at 6 p.m. against Northern Illinois.
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