Oct. 28, 2007
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - After losing the first game of the match, the Auburn volleyball team (11-14, 3-11 SEC) rallied back to pick up wins in the next three games for a 3-1 (22-30, 30-25, 30-24, 31-29) win over Tennessee (9-13, 4-10 SEC) on Sunday.
Senior Whitney Jacob led the team to the win with her first double-double of the season, tallying a career-best 23 kills along with 14 digs and six blocks. Jacob also reached a career milestone as she posted her 1,000th career kill in the win.
Jacob was not the only one reaching milestones Sunday as Auburn head coach Laura Farina picked up her 100th career victory as a head coach. More than half of those wins have come during her time at Auburn as she now has 54 victories in her time on the Plains.
The win also breaks one of Auburn's longest losing streaks as it is the first victory over the Lady Vols since the 1998 season. It is also the team's first win in Knoxville since 1996. The victory breaks a 13-match losing streak to Tennessee and avenges a 3-1 loss in Auburn earlier this season.
"It is a great win and it is really great for the team," said Farina. "We put in a new lineup today after practicing it a little bit yesterday, so it is just a big confidence booster for everybody.
"We're still working through the kinks, working through rotations. I thought everyone stood up strong and did a good job today, it really was a team effort for us and that always feels good."
The new lineup involved moving Jacob, normally a middle blocker, to outside hitter and starting the freshman duo of Lauren Mellor and Alyssa Davis in the middle blocker positions. The move worked as Jacob totaled the third-highest kill output for an Auburn player this season and combined with fellow seniors Jelena Sekulic and Rachel Shanks for 56 of Auburn's 70 kills.
"I wasn't quite sure how the new lineup was going to work," said Farina. "I knew that eventually it was going to be a stronger lineup for us. I thought Whitney played really strong and I thought the seniors as a whole had a lot of courage as they led the team to the win."
Sekulic led the team with 22 digs while chipping in 14 kills as Rachel Shanks followed suit with 19 kills and 17 digs. Sara Shanks also picked up a double-double in the win, posting 59 assists along with 14 digs.
Davis, making her fifth start of the season, was a force in the middle for the Tigers with eight kills and eight blocks in the match.
The other high point of the match came in Jacob picking up her 1,000th career kill. She entered the match with 992 and earned No. 1000 at the 4-0 mark in the second game. She now has 1,015 career kills and ranks 10th all-time at Auburn.
"It is definitely a team effort, I could not have done it without them," said Jacob. "I was excited about playing outside today, I love just swinging away and that is what Laura told me to do."
She is only the 11th player in Auburn's history to reach the mark, following teammate Rachel Shanks who reached it earlier this season. It represents the second time in Auburn's history that two Tigers reached 1,000 kills in the same season. The other time came in 1991 when Bridgitte Sims and Jenifer Kleyn reached the milestone.
"That is just incredible," said Farina on Jacob's milestone. "Whitney has played in every game for me since she has been here and she is just a great athlete."
The Tigers return to action on Friday, Nov. 2 for a 7 p.m. match against Mississippi State in the Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum.
After an early Auburn lead, Tennessee went on a 10-2 run in game one that led to a 10-point lead at 21-11. The Tigers battled back and trailed by as few as six late in the game, but could not hold off the Lady Vols as they cruised to a 30-22 win.
Jacob led Auburn with six kills in the opening game, followed by Sekulic with five while also picking up eight of AU's 17 digs.
The Tigers did not waste any time in the second game, breaking out to a quick 4-0 lead. Jacob accounted for two of the four kills and earned the 1,000th of her career. Auburn continued to roll and led by as many as nine points midway through the game before holding off a Lady Vol comeback for the 30-25 win.
Jacob again posted six kills in the game to lead the team, followed by Rachel Shanks with five.
Auburn kept the momentum going, taking the lead for good at the 15-14 mark in game three. Rachel Shanks had seven kills in the game, followed by Sekulic with five, leading the Tigers to a 30-24 win.
The Tigers jumped out to an 11-4 lead in the fourth game and had to hold off a Lady Vol comeback for the 31-29 win. Tennessee fought back to tie the game at 23-23 and the teams went point-for-point until Auburn was able to string together points on a Jacob kill, one of her seven in the game, and a UT error for the victory.