Oct. 17, 2008
AUBURN - Playing its highest-ranked competition of the season, the Auburn volleyball team (5-15, 0-9 SEC) hung with No. 8 Florida (16-1, 10-0 SEC) in two of the three sets, but could not pull out the win in the 3-0 (19-25, 16-25, 14-25) loss to the Gators.
The eighth-ranked Gators posted a .409 attack percentage along with 10 blocks, holding the Tigers to a .061 attack percentage and 29 kills.
Senior Jessica Glover and freshmen Olympia Haney led Auburn with eight kills each. Glover also chipped in two service aces, two blocks and eight digs in the match. Defensively, sophomore libero Liz Crouch led the team with 11 digs and three service aces.
"We came out and played pretty hard," said Auburn assistant coach Chris Campbell, who filled in for head coach Wade Benson as he is out sick. "Florida is ranked No. 8 in the country, they are obviously a very skilled team and they're going to give you a challenge in all areas of the game."
Auburn led early in the first two sets of the match, forcing the Gators to come from behind for the win both times. Auburn jumped out to a 4-0 lead and held it as late as the 18-17 mark. But, Florida's Erin Fleming served eight straight points for the Gators as they finished off the set with a 9-1 run for the 25-19 win.
The Tigers again jumped out to a quick lead in the second set, taking a 5-0 advantage out of the gate. Auburn led as late as 14-13, but this time it was Elyse Cusak serving nine straight points for Florida, giving the Gators a 21-14 lead en route to the 25-16 win.
"We came out and challenged them and played them tight for a significant stretch in the first set and in the second set," said Campbell. "Where Florida shows their real talent though, is playing and finishing sets. We come out strong, but we are unable to hold on for long periods of time, which shows our youth since we have one senior and a bunch of freshman and sophomores. That is part of the process we are working through this year."
Florida came out of the break ready to play in the third set, taking a 10-5 lead that eventually extended to an 11-point advantage in the 25-14 set and match win.
Freshman Kelly Murphy led the Gators in the match with 13 kills and a .667 attack percentage. Kristy Jaeckel and Kelsey Bowers picked up four blocks each for Florida in the match while Cusack posted a match-high 16 digs.
Auburn returns to action at 1:30 p.m., Sunday against South Carolina (14-4, 6-3 SEC) in the final match of a four-match homestand. Fans can follow the action live with GameTracker and a video Webcast at www.AuburnTigers.com.