Sept. 4, 2007
AUBURN - Senior Rachel Shanks tallied her 1,000th career kill Tuesday night as the Auburn volleyball team trampled visiting Kennesaw State, 3-0 in Auburn's student Activities Center.
The Tigers rolled to 30-13, 30-21 and 30-15 wins in the match and improve to 6-2 on the season. Kennesaw State falls to 2-6.
Auburn returns to action this weekend at the UTSA Classic, hosted by the University of Texas-San Antonio. The Tigers open with Louisiana Tech on Friday at 12 p.m. and follow up with Texas-San Antonio at 7 p.m. Auburn wraps up the tournament on Saturday with a 3:30 p.m. match against Texas A&M.
The Tigers dominated the court Tuesday night, hitting .330 as a team, compared to a -.012 performance by Kennesaw State. Jelena Sekulic, Rachel Shanks and Whitney Jacob all finished the match with double-digit kills.
For head coach Laura Farina, Tuesday's match offered some opportunities for the team to fine-tune some things and work on putting away opponents.
"The game is going to have some mistakes, but it is the kind of mistakes that we allow to happen, that's the frustrating part of it. We are teaching the team how to keep momentum and when to go for it and when not to go for it," said Farina. "We are also just managing some very simple goals. They were better about it tonight that we have been in any of our other seven matches, but we still have a lot of young kids out there that have some developing to do."
The other high point of the night came in Shanks (Madison, Ala.) picking up her 1,000th career kill. She entered the match with 998 and earned No. 1000 at the 14-5 mark in the first game.
"It was pretty cool. I actually had no idea that I was that close and I was surprised. It was exciting, but it was just a number and I am really excited about the season," said Shanks.
She is only the 10th player in Auburn's history to reach the mark. The most recent additions to the list were Jaunelle Hamilton and Brooke McCarley in 1999.
Always one to deflect the spotlight, Shanks focused on the team and its performance during the match.
"I was really happy with the team's play tonight. After we came back from this weekend, not playing exactly how we wanted to, we worked on some things in practice and I though we did a really good job today of putting that into play," said Shanks.
Sekulic led the Tigers in the match, picking up a team-high 12 kills for a .500 hitting percentage. Jacob finished right behind her with 11 kills, followed by Shanks with 10.
Freshman Nicki Gerig led the team with 31 assists while fellow freshman Liz Crouch led the way with 11 digs.
In the first game, it was Jacob leading the way with six kills and three service aces. KSU took its only lead as it scored the first point of the match, but Auburn came back to score four-straight points to take the lead for good, eventually winning 30-13.
In the second game, Auburn streaked to a 6-1 early lead on the back of four-straight points served by freshman Lauren Mellor. The Tigers maintained that pace, leading by as many as 12 points on the way to the 30-21 win.
Sekulic led the team in the second game with five kills.
In the third and final game, Gerig served seven straight points to give Auburn an early 7-0 lead, setting the pace for the eventual 30-15 victory. Sekulic exploded in the third game to lead the team with seven kills.