Sept. 4, 2010
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Auburn volleyball team battled host Middle Tennessee State to a five-set thriller, defeating the Blue Raiders, 3-2 (24-26, 25-18, 18-25, 25-23, 15-10), Saturday night at the 2010 Blue Raider Bash. Auburn improves to 5-2 on the season, while MTSU falls to 3-3 overall.
"This was a program-building win for us to beat Middle Tennessee on the road," head coach Wade Benson said. "I sense a large upside with this win for our team and I see the ability in this team to do something special this season."
Highlighting the evening was the performance by senior Morgan Johns, junior Kelly Fidero and freshman Camila Jersonsky. Johns finished with 10 kills, while Fidero had a team-best 12 kills and Jersonsky finished with 11 kills. Senior Lauren Mellor had a team-best seven blocks, while Jersonsky added four on the night.
The Blue Raiders were led by Izabela Kozon with 21 kills and 10 digs, while Alyssa Wistrick had 16 kills for MTSU. Morgan Peterson finished with 34 assists and libero Brynne Henderson had 16 digs.
The Tigers fell behind early at 2-0 in the first set, but a kill from Sarah Bullock and a service ace from Mellor tied the set at two apiece. At 6-6, MTSU utilized a four-point run to go up 10-6 and held the lead throughout the middle of the set. A Blue Raider attack error triggered an Auburn run to tie the set at 16. The two squads went back and forth the rest of the way until MTSU was able to pull away with a 26-24 win.
A pair of kills by Jersonsky highlighted an opening 6-2 run by the Tigers in the second set. Auburn capitalized on two Blue Raider attack errors to go up 12-7, but MTSU came within one 14-13 to test the Tigers. Auburn, however, used back-to-back kills by Fidero to push a 7-2 run and close out the match with a 25-18 victory.
The two squads kept competition close at the start of the third set until a Blue Raider run gave the home team a 7-4 advantage. A kill from Mellor brought Auburn within two points, MTSU used a late rally to take its largest lead at 19-12. The Blue Raiders went on to take a 25-18 set three win.
A kill from Fidero and a Blue Raider error gave Auburn its first lead of the fourth set at 6-5, but MTSU fired right back to tie the set at seven. Later in the set, a pair of kills by Bullock pushed the Tigers up at 18-16 and the Auburn team moved more to take a 20-17 advantage. MTSU, however, was not done as the Blue Raiders rallied on a 5-0 run to go up 22-20. Auburn would not go away and fought to win the set 25-23.
In the final set of the match, a Blue Raider service error and a kill from Johns triggered a five-point run for the Tigers to give Auburn an 8-3 advantage. A Chelsea Wintzinger service ace and a kill by Fidero put the Tigers up at 12-6 and the Tigers pushed to win the match with a 15-10 victory.
Auburn concludes the Blue Raider Bash tomorrow with a 1 p.m. match up against Southern Mississippi.