Tigers Open SEC Play With 3-0 Win Over Mississippi State
Sept. 18, 2009
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Auburn volleyball team (9-3, 1-0 SEC) opened up Southeastern Conference competition with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-15) victory over Mississippi State (4-8, 0-1 SEC) on Friday evening. Junior libero Liz Crouch put together a career performance, setting the Auburn three-set record with 31 digs. The mark was also the most digs recorded in the conference this season.
"It is exciting to start the conference season with a 3-0 win on the road and Liz played great," Wade Benson, head volleyball coach, said. "There were signs of improvement and mental toughness on the team. Despite our execution being average and the rhythm not at a level that we want, the team hung in there mentally and found ways to perform."
A pair of freshmen led the team offensively. Katherine Culwell finished with 11 kills and Sarah Bullock had 10 kills, while each recorded eight digs on the night. Sophomore setter Christina Solverson tallied 14 assists and eight digs.
Mississippi State was led by Kellye Jordan with eight kills, while libero Kayla Woodard finished with 11 digs.
The Tiger defense held the Bulldogs to a season-low 25 kills and just a .050 attack percentage. Junior Lauren Mellor finished with a game-high three blocks, while classmates Jonelle Wallace and Alyssa Davis tallied two each.
The Bulldogs came out with an early 5-2 lead in set one, holding the advantage throughout the first parts of the set. Down 12-7, the Tigers put together a 5-0 run, highlighted by a trio of kills from junior Morgan Johns. At 16-16, kills from Culwell and Jonelle Wallace gave Auburn the two-point advantage as the Tigers went on to win the set, 25-21.
The second set started out just as the first, seeing MSU take the early lead. Down four at 10-6, Auburn pushed a 5-1 run with the help of three Bullock kills to tie the match at 11 apiece. With the set tied at 16, Auburn sailed on a 9-3 run to take the 25-19 win.
Auburn came out with a quick 3-1 lead, but the Bulldogs fought back and put together a four-point run to take the 5-3 advantage. A pair of kills from Wallace tied the set at nine and a 5-2 run put the Tigers up, 14-11. The Tigers cruised on an 11-4 run to finish with the 25-14 victory.
The Tigers conclude the weekend with a Sunday match-up in Tuscaloosa, Ala., against rival Alabama. The match is set to be televised on CSS, beginning at 1 p.m.
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