Sept. 23, 2007
AUBURN - Despite posting the team's best attack percentage in the past three matches, the Auburn volleyball team (9-6, 1-3 SEC) fell 3-1 to Kentucky (12-3, 3-1 SEC), Sunday at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. The Tigers hit .242 in the match with 62 kills, but fell to the Wildcats in four games (23-30, 32-30, 25-30, 27-30).
Seniors Jelena Sekulic and Rachel Shanks both posted double-doubles in the match. Sekulic led the team with 15 kills and a .316 attack percentage while adding 11 digs. Shanks finished with 12 kills and 10 digs in the match.
Even in the three losses, Auburn stayed within striking distance of Kentucky and threatened to take a shot at the lead in each game. Finding the momentum the team needs at the right time is the key to winning for the Tigers, according to head coach Laura Farina.
"A lot went for Kentucky and it put our back against the wall, and in a game like volleyball with rally scoring it takes a monumental effort and monumental execution to work your way back into winning," said Farina. "In the end, I thought we had opportunities to win points but our inconsistencies caught up with us. "
Kentucky jumped out to an early lead in the first game, leading by as many as 13 at the 23-10 mark, but Auburn rallied to cut the deficit to as few as six before the Wildcats pulled out the 30-27 win.
Auburn struck first in the second going, going point-for-point with Kentucky as neither team led by more than three points in the game. With the game tied at 30-30, senior Whitney Jacob stepped up for the Tigers with a kill and a block assist (with Sara Shanks) on back-to-back plays to put away the 32-30 Auburn win.
Games three and four were almost identical as Kentucky jumped out to early leads, only to watch Auburn even the score and eventually take the lead. The Tigers put together late rallies in both games but ran out of time in both cases with Kentucky winning 30-25, 30-27, respectively.
Farina was encouraged to see her team so close late in the games and believes the experience will help in putting opponents away in the future.
"Situations like today help build competitive maturity in a team," said Farina. "I think we need to hold on to the competitive maturity that we have but not exhibited consistently yet."
Along with Sekulic and Shanks, two other Tigers also posted double-digit kills in Sunday's match. Glover came two digs shy of a double-double with 12 kills and eight digs while Jacob finished with 14 kills.
Sara Shanks, starting her second match in a row, posted 50 assists in the match while fellow freshman Liz Crouch led the team with 14 digs.
Auburn continues its four-match homestand on Friday, Sept. 28 with a 7 p.m. match against No. 22 LSU. The Tigers wrap up the weekend with a 1:30 p.m. match on Sunday, Sept. 30 against Ole Miss. Both matches will take place in the Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum.