Sept. 18, 2011
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Senior Kelly Fidero led all hitters with 14 kills, but the Auburn volleyball team fell short in a 3-0 loss (15-25, 16-25, 20-25) to Tennessee Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena, wrapping up a season-long nine-match road trip.
Auburn (6-6, 0-2 SEC) had trouble against Tennessee's serve all day as the Lady Vols (9-2, 2-0) recorded seven aces and forced numerous overpasses that were put down for easy kills. Auburn also struggled in its own service game with eight errors and no aces. The Tigers hit .129 in the match compared to Tennessee's .313, and the Lady Vols had 42 kills in the match against Auburn's 29.
"We've got to come out and start beating teams at the first contact on serve receive," Auburn head coach Rick Nold said. "If we don't do that, it's going to be difficult. We've got to make a commitment to getting better in that area."
Fidero's 14 matched a season high for the Tiger senior and equaled Sarah Bullock's 14-kill effort at Kentucky as the Tigers' best output in a three-set match this season. She also hit .393 in the match with just three errors in 28 attack attempts. Camila Jersonsky had seven kills in the match along with four assists, two digs and two blocks. MacKenzy Harper led the Tigers with 11 digs, and Chelsea Wintzinger's 16 assists led the way.
Tennessee took the first set by a 25-15 score to take the early lead in the match. Auburn fell behind early as Tennessee's service game caused problems for the Tigers. The Lady Vols had three aces in the opening game and were able to take Auburn out of its system on other occasions, jumping out to a 19-12 lead. However, when the Tigers were able to pass well, it set up the offensive attack nicely. Fidero and Jersonsky each had four kills in the set.
Statistically, the second set was very similar to the first as Tennessee took a 25-16 decision. In the set, Auburn hit .172 against Tennessee's .320, giving up three service aces and committing four service errors. Fidero was the offensive leader in the game with six kills, and Jersonsky had three kills in the set. With the score still close at 14-10, Tennessee went on a 4-1 run to extend its lead to 18-11 and take command of the game.
Much like the third set at Kentucky on Friday, the Tigers put up a great fight in today's third set before dropping a 25-20 decision. Three kills from Sarah Bullock and four from Fidero helped keep the score close as the set was tied nine times and the lead changed hands on seven occasions. With Auburn trailing 15-13, two kills from Bullock and one from Vesela Zapryanova propelled the Tigers on a 4-0 run to give them a 17-15 lead and force a Tennessee timeout. But from that point, UT went on a 4-0 run of its own to retake the advantage at 19-17. The Lady Vols then took three of the next four points, moving ahead 22-18 on their seventh service ace of the match.
The Tigers will begin a four-match homestand Friday, Sept. 23, as archrival Alabama visits Auburn to open the home SEC season. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at the Student Activities Center.