Auburn Crushes Alabama A&M In Season-Opener, 3-0
Head Coach Wade Benson

Aug. 28, 2009

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AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn volleyball team opened up the 2009 season with a 3-0 (25-8, 25-11, 25-9) win over in-state rival Alabama A&M Friday afternoon in the Student Activities Center in the opening match of the War Eagle Invitational.

As a team, the Tigers finished the match with a .469 attack percentage with 35 kills on 64 attempts and just five errors.

"We have some depth and are a much better ball-handling team this year," Wade Benson, head volleyball coach, said. "We've got some physicality on the court and I think that showed in the first game."

Leading the way for the Tigers was freshman Katherine Culwell, who finished with a team-high eight kills and five service aces. The Dallas native also had seven digs on the day. Sophomore setter Christina Solverson led with 16 assists, while junior Liz Crouch finished with a match-best nine digs.

"It was my first college match so I was a little nervous in the beginning," Culwell said. "I wanted to come out and play like I usually do and as a team, we wanted to come out like we have been at our training camp."

For the Bulldogs, Clarissa Moore led with four kills and libero Rose Corneille finished with a team-high five digs, while setter Natalie Rodriguez had 11 assists.

Auburn opened set one on a 13-point run, highlighted by four service aces from Culwell. Freshman Sarah Bullock also contributed with two kills in the run. The Tigers kept the big lead to finish out the set with a 25-8 win.

As a team, Auburn hit .421 in the first set, while Alabama A&M was limited to -.300.

The Tigers kept up the strong hitting attack, finishing the second set with a .423 attack percentage on 13 kills and just two errors. The two teams went back and forth to open the set until Auburn rattled off four-straight points to take an early 6-2 lead. The Bulldogs came within three at 9-6, but the Tigers pulled away to finish with a 25-11 victory.

Culwell finished with four kills in the set and junior Morgan Johns had three kills on four attempts.

Auburn's most productive offensive attack came in the third set, seeing the team finish with a .579 attack percentage with 11 kills and no errors. At the 4-4 mark, the Tigers went on a 14-1 run and rolled to a 25-9 win.

The Tigers return to action on Saturday for day two of the War Eagle Invitational. Auburn faces UAB in the first match of the day at 10 a.m., and concludes the tournament against Alabama A&M at 1 p.m.