Oct. 7, 2007
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Jelena Sekulic exploded for a career-best 25 kills Sunday as the Auburn volleyball team (10-9, 2-6 SEC) downed Arkansas (8-10, 2-6 SEC) in five games, 21-30, 31-29, 19-30, 30-27, 15-8.
The win ends a six-match losing streak for the Tigers and gives Auburn its second win in five-game matches.
Head coach Laura Farina was happy with the team's play, pointing out that Auburn showed a lot of heart in the win.
"A win is always good and especially a win on the road," said Farina. "Arkansas is a quality team and we were fortunate to score points when we needed to and a lot of people contributed to that on the tem for that to happen."
Farina also pointed out that un-forced errors played a huge role in the Tigers' success on Sunday.
"It was about us being able to pass and stop a server, reducing our unforced errors," said Farina. "We had a lot of un-forced errors and it is hard to gain momentum and keep momentum when you keep making them. When we found a rhythm, adjusted, put our game plan in place better and played a pretty error-free volleyball game, that's when we picked up our wins."
She was also very happy with the play of Sekulic, something the coaching staff has been waiting to see.
"Jelena played like a senior. We have been asking the seniors to step up and she took on the challenge of attacking and really led us," said Farina.
The match marked a big milestone for senior Rachel Shanks as she picked up her third dig of the match midway through game one, giving her 1,000 career digs. She is the seventh player in Auburn's history to reach the mark and now ranks fifth all-time with 1,013 career digs.
Earlier this season, Shanks picked up her 1,000th career kill and currently ranks sixth at Auburn with 1,134. Now that she has reached the 1,000-dig mark, she is only the fourth player in Auburn's history to appear on both lists.
Shanks finished Sunday's match with 15 kills and 16 digs for her 11th double-double of the season. She was one of three Tigers to earn double-doubles in the match, joining he were Sekulic (25 kills, 11 digs) and Jessica Glover (17 kills, 12 digs).
Auburn now returns home for a Friday night matchup against in-state rival Alabama. Action is set to begin at 7 p.m. in the Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum.
Auburn jumped out to an early lead in the first game, holding an 8-3 advantage before Arkansas took its first timeout. The Lady Razorbacks fought back into the game and took the lead at 14-13, a lead they would hold for the rest of the game.
Auburn stayed with the Lady Backs, trailing by one at 21-20, but Arkansas went on a late run, scoring nine straight points, before taking the 30-21 win.
Auburn and Arkansas stayed close in the second game, going almost point-for-point as the largest lead either team could muster was four points. But, with the score tied at 29-29, Rachel Shanks stepped up with her sixth kill of the game to put Auburn back on top and then served home the win as Sekulic and Mellor came up with a block to win the game, 31-29.
The win in game two ended a nine-game losing streak for the Tigers. Auburn had not won a game since its 30-26 win against LSU on Sept. 28.
The teams again stayed tight through most of game three with five ties and two lead changes. Auburn enjoyed its biggest lead at the 12-8 point in the match, but saw Arkansas come back to tie the game at 15-15. Arkansas took a brief lead before Auburn tied the game at 18-18, but the Lady Backs went on an amazing 12-1 run to finish off with a 30-19 win.
In the fourth game, it was Arkansas taking the early lead, but Auburn coming through with the late surge in the end. The Tigers led by as many as five points late in the game, leading 29-24, and held off a late Lady Back rally for the 30-27 win.
Auburn trailed through the first half of the fifth game, tying it up at 7-7, but closed the match with an 8-1 run for the 15-8 win. Sekulic came up huge in the final game, recording four of Auburn's nine kills.