Aug. 30, 2011
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AUBURN - The Auburn volleyball team got a season-high 10 kills from senior Kelly Fidero and held Alabama A&M to a negative hitting percentage in a 3-0 (25-12, 25-14, 25-16) victory Tuesday night at the Student Activities Center.
Auburn (2-1) hit .286 for the match and had 41 total kills, compared to 12 kills and a -.063 hitting percentage for Alabama A&M (1-4). It was the Tigers' sixth win in their last eight home openers and improved the team to 20-6 all-time in their first match at home. In addition, Auburn improved to 6-0 all-time against Alabama A&M.
Fidero had Auburn's first double-digit kills game of the season, putting down 10 balls on 18 attempts with just two errors for a .444 hitting percentage. Redshirt sophomore Courtney McDonald made the most of her first home match in two years with a career-high eight kills and a .538 hitting percentage (8-1-13).
Sophomore MacKenzy Harper had a team-high 11 digs as she made her second start at the libero position. Senior Christina Solverson and sophomore Chelsea Wintzinger split the assists with Wintzinger posting 17 and Solverson with 15 helpers.
The first set was all Auburn as the Tigers had 12 kills and held the Bulldogs to zero kills on 23 attacks with six errors for a -.261 hitting percentage. After the teams traded early service errors, the Tigers went on a 13-1 run, taking a 15-3 lead on back-to-back kills by Fidero; she had four in the first set. A&M went on a mini-run to pull back within reasonable range at 16-8, but a pair of kills from Kathia Rud started the final push that ended with a pair of Bulldog errors, one of which came at the hands of a block assist from Fidero and McDonald.
Set two was more of the same as the Tigers hit .455 as a team (11 kills, 22 attacks, just one error) and held the Bulldogs to -.067 for a 25-14 win. Auburn jumped out to a 4-0 lead with kills from Vesela Zapryanova and Kathia Rud and a block from Brittney Rhude and Chloe Rowand. It was 9-3 before the Bulldogs recorded their first kill of the night as Karensa Beckford got A&M's first. Beckford then scored three of the next four points to make it 10-6; the Bulldogs kept it close at 14-10 before Auburn called its first timeout of the match.
Out of the timeout, the Tigers started a 6-1 run to make it 20-11, and it was all but over from there. Zapryanova and McDonald had three kills apiece in the set, and Rowand assisted on three blocks to give Auburn a 2-0 lead at the break.
Alabama A&M came out strong in the third set, leading early and pulling even at 5-5. But Auburn would go on a 13-2 run and coast to the finish for a 25-16 win to clinch the match. Fidero and McDonald each had four kills in the set as the Tigers scored 18 of their 25 points in the final frame on kills, hitting at a .306 clip (18-7-36). Alabama A&M hit .115 in the set with five kills, their only game in positive numbers in the match. The Tigers were also strong defensively in the third set, tallying 17 digs - five from Zapryanova - to the Bulldogs' seven.
The Tigers won the digs battle 44-29 and had 37 assists to the Bulldogs' nine. Auburn also recorded six total blocks; Alabama A&M had two. It was the second straight match for Auburn to hold an opponent below a .100 hitting percentage.
Auburn will hit the road once again this weekend for four matches at the Blue Raider Bash in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The Tigers face Florida International on Friday night, Austin Peay and Middle Tennessee on Saturday and Missouri on Sunday.