Tigers Topple Tide In Three-Sets, 3-0

Morgan Johns

Oct. 3, 2010

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AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn volleyball team hosted in-state rival Alabama Sunday afternoon and earned a three-set sweep, 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 28-26), over the Crimson Tide at the Student Activities Center. The Tigers improved to 13-5 overall and 4-2 in the SEC with the win, while Alabama dropped to 8-7 on the season and 0-5 in the league.

"We came out very prepared," head coach Wade Benson said. "We showed a little immaturity in the final set, but at the same time, we've shown good ability all year to close out tight matches. That is a nice strength to have."

Senior Morgan Johns led all attackers with 15 kills on 25 attempts for a .520 attack percentage. She also finished with three blocks (one solo, two assists) on the day. Freshman Camila Jersonsky had nine kills and three blocks, while senior libero Liz Crouch had a match-high 20 digs.

"Alabama came out to play and we pushed back," Johns said. "We came out as a team and it worked out for us."

Setters Christina Solverson and Chelsea Wintzinger finished with 21 and 16 assists, respectively. Sophomore Sarah Bullock had seven kills and junior Kelly Fidero tallied six kills for Auburn.

Brianne Vande Griend led the Crimson Tide with 11 kills and three blocks, while Alyssa Meuth finished with nine kills and two blocks. Setter Kayla Schmidt had a double-double for Alabama, recording 19 assists and 12 digs.

Alabama took an early 6-3 lead in the first set, but a 7-2 Auburn run gave the Tigers a 10-8 advantage. Auburn capitalized on three Alabama errors to go up 14-9 and a pair of service aces by Crouch pushed the Tigers to a 17-10 lead. Auburn closed out the set with an 8-3 run to take the 25-13 win.

The Crimson Tide opened the second set with another early run to go up 4-1. Alabama held on to its slim lead through the middle of the set until, at 13-10 in favor of Alabama, a kill by Johns set off an Auburn rally to tie the set at 14 apiece. The Tide fought to regain their lead at 18-15, but the Tigers weren't finished as they rattled off a final 9-2 run, highlighted by a three-straight kills from Johns, to win set two by a score of 25-20.

The third set started just as the second as Alabama took yet another quick lead at 5-2. A pair of Crimson Tide errors and a service ace by Wintzinger tied the set at five, but Alabama reclaimed its lead on a 5-1 run to go up 10-6. At 19-14 Alabama, a kill from Johns set off an eight-point Auburn rally that was highlighted by back-to-back service aces by Vesela Zapryanova. The Tigers faced match point at 24-22, but Alabama battled to lock the score at 24 apiece. At 26-26, a kill by Fidero and an Alabama attack error gave Auburn the 28-26 victory.

Auburn hosts a mid-week match against Georgia on Wednesday, Oct. 6, at the Student Activities Center. The 7 p.m. match will be televised live on ESPNU and is Auburn's first televised home match since the 2006 season.