The Ole Miss volleyball team struggled this weekend, losing two SEC matches at home to Georgia and Auburn.
The team managed to pick up only one set throughout the two games, as the Rebels committed far too many errors to put themselves in a position to win. With these losses the Rebels have lost six of their last seven matches, including three in a row to begin their SEC schedule.
In the first game of the weekend on Friday, Ole Miss lost to Georgia 0-3 (24-26, 18-25, 26-28). The Rebels managed to push two sets into extra points, but they came up short in both of these opportunities.
The first set was littered with numerous errors by both sides, including a stretch in which Ole Miss committed three errors in a row, pushing the Georgia lead to 15-11 at a crucial point in the set.
However, the Rebels fought their way back into contention with a run capped off by a diving dig by junior Jordan Fate which led to a kill by junior Emily Stroup, bringing the score to 22-21 in favor of Ole Miss. This momentum was then derailed by errors, and the Rebels dropped the set 24-26.
The second set looked more promising for the Rebels as they jumped out to a 13-10 lead, but then the Bulldogs went on a 12-3 run, which included a stretch in which four of five Georgia points resulted from Ole Miss errors. The Rebels eventually dropped the set 18-25, unable to overcome that dominant run from the Bulldogs.
The Rebels looked poised to capture their first set of the match in the third, playing stout defense in the middle, as four of the Rebels’ final six points came from blocks. However, on the Rebs’ first set point of the match, Stroup committed a service error which tied the game at 24. Ole Miss managed to control the action for the next few points, gaining the advantage twice, but could not pull away and close the set, eventually relinquishing its lead and losing 26-28.
Stroup led the team with 19 kills on a .421 hitting percentage, also contributing six digs and three blocks. Fate recorded 21 assists and eight digs. Sophomore Leah Mulkey recorded seven kills, six digs, three blocks and two assists. Junior Nayo Warnell had four kills, four digs, one assist and a match-high four total blocks.
The Rebels came up short against Auburn on Sunday, falling 1-3 (19-25, 21-25, 25-18, 15-25). In yet another game in which the Rebs beat themselves with errors, Ole Miss played clumsily on offense in a seemingly endless downward spiral that has plagued the team for the past seven games.
Auburn jumped out to an early lead in the first set, going up 11-4 and establishing a comfortable lead that they would not relinquish. In a completely lopsided set, the Tigers’ 4-1 lead was the smallest of the set, from that point on.
In set three, the only set that Ole Miss managed to win throughout the weekend, the Rebels jumped out to an 8-4 lead and used that advantage to fend off the Tigers for the rest of the set. In her usual fashion of coming up big late in sets, Stroup got kills on the final three points for Ole Miss, following a service ace from sophomore Bayleigh Scott.
Stroup finished the match with 15 kills on a disappointing .063 clip, committing 12 attack errors, three service errors and one return error. Fate finished with 23 assists and seven digs. Senior Caroline Adams recorded a match-high 14 digs, while freshman Aubrey Sultemeier and senior Delaney Gallagher had three blocks each.
The Rebels will look to dig themselves out of this hole when they travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Friday to take on Arkansas, before returning home Sunday to play LSU.