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Auburn Downs Troy In Season-Opener, 3-1

Aug. 24, 2007

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AUBURN - The Auburn University volleyball team defeated Troy 3-1 (31-29, 21-30, 30-28, 30-10) Friday night in the Beard-Eaves-Coliseum in the War Eagle Invitational. Auburn starts the season 1-0 and opens with a win for the fourth-straight year while Troy falls to 0-1.

Senior Rachel Shanks led the Tigers with 21 kills on 53 attempts while picking up 10 digs for a season-opening double-double. Two other Tigers recorded double-doubles in the match as junior Jessica Glover finished with 10 kills and 18 digs and freshman setter Nicki Gerig finished with 46 assists and 10 digs of her own.

Auburn returns to action in the War Eagle Invitational at 12 p.m., Saturday with a match against Nicholls State. The Tigers wrap up the tournament with a 7 p.m. match against Tennessee State.

Nicholls State and Tennessee State met in the early match on Friday with TSU taking the 3-2 win. All matches will be played at Auburn's Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum.

Head coach Laura Farina was happy to get the win in the season-opener, but even more pleased with the way her team turned up the heat later in the match, pounding the Trojans 30-10 in the final game.

"It's always nice to get your first win at home. It's nice to win your first match. It just builds confidence for the next two matches," said Farina.

"For the first three games, we didn't see a lot of our strengths. I think in game four, our strengths came through with our serving and our passing, which allowed our offense to start clicking."

The offense was definitely clicking in the final game with Auburn posting a .375 team hitting percentage, tallying 14 kills with only two errors.

Senior Rachel Shanks, coming off of her 21-kill performance, was also happy with the team's play, especially the way they battled late in the match.

"It's great to come out with a win. I think we started off slow and had some jitters there in the beginning," said Shanks. "It was great to see how the team turned it around after the second game and pick it up in the fourth game and really take it to them. It was good to see the team fight back like that."

The first game was a battle from the start as neither team was able to take control. Auburn's biggest lead was 10-6 early in the match, but traded the lead with the Trojans through the latter part of the match until senior Whitney Jacob laid the final blow with a service ace for the 31-29 win.

Troy wasted no time in getting started in the second game and exploded to a 10-4 lead, a margin that Auburn would not be able to overcome with the Trojans winning the match 30-21.

Meghan Washlow got Troy going early, serving five-straight points as the Trojans built their lead.

Auburn was able to rebound in the third game in what was very similar to the first game of the match. The Tigers struck first, but never built a lead greater than two points as they fought out the 30-28 win.

Again, it was a senior laying the final blow for Auburn as Jelena Sekulic landed the kill on a Gerig set for the win.

The fourth and final game showcased a dominating performance by the Tigers as Auburn jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.

Senior Whitney Jacob picked up a kill on the opening volley and then served four-straight points to build a 5-0 Auburn lead.

Jacob again sparked the Tigers as she got another kill to make the score 15-6, then watched as Glover served nine-straight points for a dominating 24-6 lead. Troy would not even break out of single digits until the end of the match, but it was too late by then as Auburn pulled out the 30-10 victory for the 3-1 match win.

This time it was a pair of freshmen coming together for the final point as Gerig set up Alyssa Davis for her first collegiate kill.



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