Sept. 20, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Auburn volleyball team rallied against rival Alabama after being down two sets, but fell short in the squad's 3-1 (21-25, 20-25, 25-17, 20-25) loss Sunday afternoon. The Tigers are now 9-4 overall and 1-1 in the Southeastern Conference, while the Crimson Tide improve to 4-8 and 2-0 on the season.
"This was a counterpunch match and we almost counterpunched our way to a win today," Wade Benson, head volleyball coach, said. "We need to develop an aggressive mindset from the beginning and set the tone right away instead of playing catch up. That is something that will come from experience.
"We're fighting the stigma that was once Auburn volleyball and proving we are here to play. I think we showed that today and we're going to continue to grow into a very competitive team."
Freshman Sarah Bullock led the squad with 11 kills, while junior Alyssa Davis added 10 kills. Junior libero Liz Crouch recorded a team-best 14 digs and classmate Lauren Mellor had game-high six blocks on the day.
Ashley Frazier and Alyssa Meuth led the Crimson Tide with 16 and 12 kills, respectively. Frazier also finished with a game-best 17 digs.
The two teams battled throughout the beginnings of set one until the Crimson Tide put together a 3-0 run to take the 8-5 advantage. Auburn fought back and a kill from Davis tied it up at eight apiece, but another run gave Alabama its biggest lead at 24-16. Auburn pushed a 5-0 run to cut the Crimson Tide lead until a kill from Machen sealed the 25-21 win for Alabama.
Down 2-0 early in the second, the Tigers rallied to take the 4-2 lead on a kill from Davis and a service ace from Mellor. Tied at eight, an Alabama run gave the Crimson Tide the lead until a 6-0 Tiger run gave Auburn the 16-14 advantage. With the set tied at 20 apiece, an Alabama 5-point run gave the Crimson Tide the 25-20 win.
The third started out close with the two squads battling back and forth. Down 7-6, a Tiger 4-0 run gave Auburn the 10-7 lead. A Bullock kill put the Tigers up 19-15 and a 5-2 run, highlighted by a pair of kills from Bullock, sealed the 25-17 victory.
The Tigers saw themselves down early in the fourth set, but a trio of Alabama errors aided in a 5-0 Auburn run to make it 6-3. The Tigers took their largest lead at 16-11, but the Crimson Tide came back with a major run to go up 22-19. Alabama closed out the set, winning 25-20.
Auburn returns to the Student Activities Center when the Tigers host SEC West rival LSU on Sept. 25.