Oct. 20, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn won its third-straight volleyball match on Sunday afternoon, making it a weekend sweep in SEC play with a 3-1 win (25-23, 22-25, 25-19, 25-17) over Texas A&M at Auburn Arena.
It was the first win by Auburn (12-7, 3-4 SEC) over Texas A&M (10-8, 2-5) in the fifth all-time meeting between the two teams. The win also gave the Tigers their third-straight in SEC play after the team fell short in their first four conference matches of the season.
"I think this might have been our best overall game of the year when you look at the balance in our offense," Auburn head coach Rick Nold said. "I thought we did a great job of adjusting from Friday to today with the completely different offensive system that (the Aggies) run. Their setter is really involved and we did a good job of controlling her and getting some opportunities in transistion.
"We've talked a lot the last 2-3 weeks about that we're going to have little struggles in different areas. But someone else can step up and take the pressure off the first one and help each other out. If we're out of system, then we can be aggressive out of system and earn some points. Setters can help if we're struggling with passing. I think it's a matter of everyone being settled in, doing what they can do to help, and just relying on each other. We're a good team, we've just got to let ourselves be there."
Auburn had four players with double-digit kills in Sunday's match after having five players with 10 or more against LSU on Friday. Freshman Stephanie Campbell helped lead the way for Auburn with a career-high 13 kills while hitting .400 for the match. Going back to the last two sets against Arkansas, Campbell had a stretch of 35 kills spanning most of 14 sets without committing an attack error before that streak came to an end toward the end of today's fourth set. Campbell was also in on three blocks and had an ace and three digs as well.
Senior Katherine Culwell matched Campbell with 13 kills on the day and picked up her eighth double-double of the season with 14 digs. She was also in on a pair of blocks and had a service ace. Kathia Rud had another strong performance with 12 kills and 12 digs, giving her 50 digs over her last three matches and her third-straight double-double.
The Tigers hit .242 for the match and held Texas A&M to a .135 mark. Auburn had more kills than the Aggies (65-48) and won the digs battle 75-59, but A&M had nine blocks to the Tigers' eight and one more ace than Auburn.
Texas A&M's Angela Lowak led all hitters in the match with 14 kills, and Sierra Patrick contributed 11 kills and 6 blocks for the Aggies. Jazzmin Babers also had six blocks on the day.
The Aggies led for much of the first set, but Auburn took the lead for good at 14-13 and never trailed again. A&M was able to fight off three set point attempts at 24-20, but a kill from Culwell put the opener away, 25-23, to give Auburn the lead. Culwell and Campbell each had four kills in the opening set and the Tigers hit .286.
A sloppy, error-plagued second set saw Texas A&M jump out to a big early lead, increasing that advantage to as much as seven points at 18-11. But a big run by the Tigers - helped out by four blocks from Jersonsky along the way - allowed Auburn to tie the game at 19-all, then again at 21-all. But the Aggies were able to score four of the final five points of game two to knot the match at one set apiece with a 25-22 win. Both teams had an equal number of kills and errors in set two, hitting a flat .000 in the frame. Six of A&M's errors came on Auburn blocks.
The Tigers came out on fire after the break, jumping out to a 10-4 lead in set three and never looking back on their way to a 25-19 win. Auburn hit .310 in the third with 19 kills against just six errors, with Campbell putting five balls to the floor and Emily Klitzke and Rud contributing four apiece. And the fourth set was more of the same as Auburn out-hit the Aggies .389 to .179 in the fourth; Auburn had just four errors along with 18 kills as they cruised to a 25-17 win to close out the match.
With both matches televised by SportSouth, another streak came to an end this weekend for Auburn. The Tigers had lost 10 consecutive matches on TV in a stretch spanning the last three seasons, but with today's win and Friday's victory over LSU, Auburn is now on a two-match TV winning streak.
The Tigers will hit the road next weekend for a pair of matches against SEC Eastern Division foes. Auburn will face second-ranked Florida at 6 p.m. CT next Friday in Gainesville, then travel to Columbia, S.C. for a match against South Carolina at 12:30 p.m. CT Sunday. AuburnTigers.com will have a live audio broadcast of both matches.