Tigers Earn Season Sweep of Alabama with 3-2 Win
Oct. 30, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Senior Kelly Fidero had a career-high 27 kills and 14 digs to lead the Auburn volleyball team to a season sweep of rival Alabama with a 3-2 (22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 18-25, 16-14) win over the Crimson Tide on Sunday afternoon at Foster Auditorium.
The Tigers (10-14, 4-10 SEC) snapped a seven-match SEC losing streak, but continued another streak with their fifth consecutive win over Alabama (11-14, 4-10 SEC), dating back to the 2009 season.
"That's a big one for us," Auburn head coach Rick Nold said. "Obviously we've been on a little bit of a slide. We talked about...the way for us to change that was to come out with a lot of energy. We outdug them by 24 balls; I thought that was a big key to the match."
Fidero shattered her previous career-best of 20 kills as she put down 27 attacks along with a career-best 14 digs to lead a Tiger attack. It was the first 20+ kill performance by a Tiger since Morgan Johns had 24 in Auburn's win at Alabama last season.
Sophomore Kathia Rud, making her first start since the season's seventh match, recorded a career-best 16 kills as well, hitting at a .394 clip with just three errors on the day.
Chelsea Wintzinger had her third double-double of the year with 42 assists and 10 digs, and while Christina Solverson added 22 helpers along with a career-high three kills as the Tigers went back to a 6-2 offensive look. Sarah Wroblicky led the Tigers with 28 digs, while Sarah Bullock added 20 digs to go along with eight kills. Chloe Rowand, seeing her first action in three weeks, led the Tigers with five blocks.
Auburn dominated most statistical categories, recording 79 kills to Alabama's 55 and posting 88 digs to the Tide's 64. The Tigers hit .269 as a team against Alabama's .220, but Alabama had seven service aces while Auburn had none. The Tide also had one more block than the Tigers.
Alabama was led by Kayla Fitterer and Shelbi Goode with 14 kills apiece; Fitterer also had 17 digs for a double-double.
Auburn out-hit Alabama in the first set .367-.333 and had 17 kills to Bama's 12, but three Alabama service aces proved to be the difference in a 25-22 first-set loss. Auburn had to alter its strategy early when Camila Jersonsky left the game with an apparent injury, and it led to a slow start as the Tide jumped out to a 13-8 lead. But Auburn would fight back behind three Fidero kills and pull within three at 16-13 before the Tide once again extended their lead to five points. Auburn again fought back with kills from Rud and Fidero to make it 22-20, but Alabama would hold on for the victory.
The second set saw the Tigers much more in sync as they jumped out to an 8-5 lead thanks to a pair of kills each from Fidero and Rud, along with a block from Fidero and Rowand. Auburn would lead by as many as five, but the Tide would constantly chip away. After Alabama rallied to tie the score at 17-all, Fidero contributed two straight kills to give Auburn a two-point lead at 19-17. The Tide would eventually tie things up three more times, the last coming at 22-22, before kills from McDonald and Fidero gave Auburn set point at 24-22. An apparent game-ending swing from Fidero was nullified on a net violation, but she made up for it on the next attack to give Auburn a 25-23 win.
Auburn jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the third set before Alabama started mounting a comeback. But the turning point came when a ridiculous rally at 15-14 ended with Fidero finally getting her third attempt of the point to the floor to give Auburn a 16-14 lead. A block from Fidero and Rowand made it 17-14 and forced a Bama timeout. From there, the Tigers would pull away, finshing on a 7-4 run to take a 25-18 win in the third set.
The fourth set was all Alabama as the Tide took a 25-18 win to send things to a deciding set. The Tide struck first in the fourth set, pulling out to a 7-3 lead early on to force an Auburn timeout. Auburn would close the gap to one point on two different occasions, getting kills from Fidero to make it 12-11 and later 14-13, but the Tide advantage would swell to four points at 19-15 after a Bama kill and an Auburn error. Auburn hit a match-worst .176 in the set while Alabama went for a .414 clip, the best of any set in the match.
Set five was a tightly-contested, back-and-forth affair that saw the lead change hands multiple times. Auburn took an 8-6 lead as the teams switched ends; that lead grew to 11-8 after a kill from Rud forced an Alabama timeout. But the Tide would score three straight to knot the score at 11 apiece. The Tide would eventually take the lead at 13-12 on an Auburn error, but a kill from Fidero and a block from Rowand and Rhude gave the Tigers a set point attempt at 14-13. Cortney Warren would get a kill to tie the score at 14-14, but another kill from Fidero and a block from Bulloock and Rowand finished off the Tide with a 16-14 Tiger win.
The Tigers will return home next weekend to begin a three-match, two-week homestand against the remainder of the SEC Western Division. Auburn will host LSU at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, for the "All Auburn, All Orange" match, and Arkansas will visit on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 1:30 p.m.
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