AUBURN, Ala. – The Auburn volleyball team fell to Missouri Friday night in a tightly-contested match, 3-2 (22-25, 25-23, 20-25, 27-25, 15-11), in Auburn Arena. With the loss, Auburn dropped to 9-3 overall and 2-1 in Southeastern Conference play.
“We needed to be more consistent throughout the match,” head coach Rick Nold said. “We didn’t take advantage of situations and didn’t make the aggressive plays that would have pushed us to a better result. Missouri took advantage of the opportunities and it hurt us in the end.
“We have to respond Sunday because there is a good team coming to town,” Nold added. “We need to stay disciplined and be ready to go against another aggressive team.”
Sophomore Gwyn Jones reached a career high, totaling a match-high 21 kills for the home Tigers. Classmate Shaina White added 13 kills, while freshman Anna Stevenson chipped in 10. Senior setter Alexa Filley had another double-double, finishing with 47 assists and 13 digs.
Senior libero Jesse Earl led all student-athletes with 29 digs on the night. Freshman Payton White tied a career-best with 14 and junior Brenna McIlroy added 11. The Tiger blockers finished with 10 on the night as S. White and Stevenson picked up four a piece.
Missouri’s (9-7, 2-1 SEC) Alyssa Munlyn led the team with 15 kills and had a match-high 12 blocks. Kira Larson finished with 11 kills and 19 digs, while libero Riley Sents added 21 digs.
Auburn capitalized on early MU errors and a kill by McIlroy triggered a Mizzou timeout, 7-3, in set one. Solid serving from S. White pushed the home Tigers to an 11-4 lead before MU battled back to come within two at 13-11. Three-straight Mizzou kills put the visitors up 17-16, but AU responded with a five-point rally to take a 21-17 advantage. Auburn went on to take the set, 25-22.
Aggressive serving and a pair of Stevenson kills led to another early Mizzou timeout as Auburn took a 10-6 lead in the second stanza. AU held its lead until the later parts of the set when MU locked it up at 17. Tied a 22, Mizzou closed out the set on a 3-1 run to win, 25-23.
A six-point Auburn rally highlighted the early part of the third as AU went up 11-4. The visitors inched back throughout the middle of the set and eventually cut the Auburn lead to five at 23-17. A kill by Jones gave AU set point and another Jones strike lifted Auburn to a 25-20 win.
A pair of Jones kills and one by senior Macy Reece pushed the home squad to a slim 9-7 advantage in set four. Auburn capitalized on MU errors, 17-12, before Mizzou cut the lead at 17-16. The teams went back and forth to close out the set and Auburn held match point, 25-24. MU, however, used strong play at the net to force a deciding set, 27-25.
Mizzou held momentum in the fifth to push a 6-3 lead. Auburn responded with a pair of three-point runs to go up 9-7, but the visitors used strong defense at the net to overtake AU with a 15-11 victory.
Auburn closes out the weekend with another home match, taking on Arkansas Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. CT in Auburn Arena. The match will be the team’s Dig Pink contest and fans are encouraged to wear pink.