April 3, 2008
AUBURN - Auburn goes on the road this weekend in hopes of extending its SEC record to five wins as the 26th-ranked Tigers take on No. 11 Florida Friday in Gainesville, Fla. and No. 57 South Carolina Sunday in Columbia, S.C.
Auburn (9-9, 3-5 SEC) has not won a conference match on the road this season, and is only 1-4 away from home this season. Friday presents an opportunity for the Tigers to turn it around, and is the first of three straight SEC road matches to close out the regular season.
"It is going to be a challenge for us," Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. "Florida is tough and we are going to have to be ready to compete."
Florida is currently 11-5 this season and 6-2 in the conference. The Gators are coming off a 4-3 loss to No. 16 LSU in Baton Rouge, La., last Sunday.
LSU snapped a four-match win streak for Florida and handed the Gators their second SEC loss of the season. The first loss was against No. 3 Georgia, 5-2.
Auburn continues its weekend road trip to South Carolina on Sunday. The Gamecocks (9-9, 1-7 SEC) are coming off their first conference win last Sunday against No. 47 Arkansas, 4-3. The win broke a three-match losing streak for South Carolina and was only their second road win of the season.
"We need to win this match, and I have confidence in the team that they will get it done," Shore said.
After this weekend, Auburn only has one more match, against in-state rival Alabama, before the SEC Outdoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.
"We need to at least get a split this weekend," Shore said. "If we do that, we will be in pretty good position going into our last regular season match and the SEC tournament."
Auburn takes on Florida at 2 p.m. CT on Friday and South Carolina at 1 p.m. on Sunday.