AUBURN, Ala. – The Auburn volleyball faced No. 4 Florida Sunday afternoon and fell to the Gators, 3-1 (25-16, 17-25, 25-19, 25-15), in Auburn Arena. The loss moved the Tigers to 11-8 overall and 4-6 in the Southeastern Conference.
“I thought we did a much better job serving today and that we were well-prepared overall,” head coach Rick Nold said. “I felt that we played with a lot more organization, but Florida is just a very good team. When you give them easy opportunities, they will take advantage of it.”
Junior Brenna McIlroy had a team-best 10 kills in the match, while freshman Anna Stevenson added nine kills on a .467 hitting percentage. Sophomores Gwyn Jones and Shaina White chipped in seven kills apiece.
Senior setter Alexa Filley picked up her 12th double-double of the season with 31 assists and 11 digs. Sophomore Karis Beasley set a career-high with 13 digs in the back row, while senior libero Jesse Earl added nine.
Auburn had a solid day from the service line, finishing with six aces vs. the Gators. Earl and classmate Courtney Crable added two apiece for the Tigers and freshman Payton White and McIlroy had one each.
Florida (16-1, 8-1) had two student-athletes with double-digit kills on the day. Shainah Joseph had a match-high 13 kills, while Rachael Kramer finished with 12. Carli Snyder led the match with 18 digs and Rhamat Alhassan had seven blocks.
An ace from P. White and a kill by Stevenson made it 8-7 early in the first, but the Gators used a four-point rally to take a 15-10 lead at the media timeout. A pair of Florida runs forced an Auburn timeout, 20-13, and the Gators utilized efficient play in the middle to take the set, 25-16.
A pair of kills by S. White and an Earl ace kicked off the second stanza for Auburn, pushing the Tigers ahead 3-1. More AU strikes made it 10-6 and a kill from McIlroy sent the home squad on a 5-1 run to go ahead 18-10. The two teams exchanged sideouts to close out the set and Auburn tied up the match on a kill from Jones, 25-17.
The Tigers used momentum in the third and took a 6-4 lead on kills from Crable and Stevenson. Florida came back to tie the set at 8-all and used a four-point run to go ahead, 18-13. The Gators went on to take the set with the help of big blocks, 25-19.
More Florida blocks pushed the visiting squad to a quick 9-3 lead to open set four. After a timeout, Auburn saw back-to-back kills by S. White to make it 13-8 Gators, but the nationally-ranked squad was too much and went on to win the match with a 25-15 win.
Auburn earns a week off from competition before traveling to Columbia, S.C., for a Sunday afternoon contest with South Carolina. The Tigers and the Gamecocks will go head-to-head, Oct. 29, at 12:30 p.m. CT.