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Tigers Push No. 1 Florida To The Limit

Nov. 7, 2010

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AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn volleyball team had the nation's top-ranked team Florida on its heels, but a big Gator push lifted No. 1 Florida to a come-from-behind 3-2 (25-23, 18-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-11) win Sunday afternoon at the Student Activities Center. The match marked the second time in the series history that Auburn has taken Florida to five sets.

"I'm really proud of the team," head coach Wade Benson said. "We really threw ourselves out there, played hard and were consistent. We wanted to play our style of volleyball and we forced Florida to adjust to us. This was a real positive match for us and we hope that people will now recognize that Auburn has become a great volleyball program."

Auburn (17-11, 8-8 SEC) was led by sophomore Sarah Bullock who finished with a career-best 20 kills. She also tallied 17 digs in the match to record her eighth double-double of the year. Senior Morgan Johns had 14 kills, while classmate Alyssa Davis had six. A trio of Tigers in senior Jonelle Wallace, junior Kelly Fidero and freshman Camila Jersonsky recorded five kills on the day.

Senior libero Liz Crouch had a team-best 18 digs for the Tigers. Junior Christina Solverson had 30 assists and eight digs, while freshman Chelsea Wintzinger tallied 20 assists and six digs. Davis and Johns finished with four blocks each and Bullock and Jersonsky each had three blocks on the day.

Florida (22-1, 15-0 SEC) had three Gators finish with double-digit kills. Callie Rivers had a team-best 15 kills, while Lauren Bledsoe Kelly Murphy had 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Tangerine Wiggs had a match-high 10 blocks and libero Erin Fleming recorded 21 digs for the Gators.

A service ace by Crouch and a Gator attack error gave Auburn a quick 2-0 lead in the first set. A kill by Solverson and by Bullock pushed the Tigers to a 7-5 advantage. A 4-1 Auburn run gave the Tigers a 12-7 lead and another rally gave Auburn its largest lead at 19-13. However, Florida, down four at 22-18, utilized a 7-1 rally to take the set 25-23.

Kills by Johns and Bullock highlighted the start of set two as Auburn took a 4-1 advantage. A Gator kill cut the Tiger lead to one at 10-9, but a 5-2 Auburn rally gave the home team a 15-11 lead. A kill and service ace from Davis and a kill by Katherine Culwell pushed Auburn ahead six points at 19-13. Kills by Johns and Bullock solidified the 25-18 set-two win.

The third set opened with the Tigers taking a 5-2 lead and kills by Johns and Davis put Auburn ahead at 8-4. A 5-2 Tiger run pushed Auburn to a 16-11 advantage, but the Gators fought back to come within a point at 18-17. A pair of kills by Fidero gave the Tigers a 20-17 lead, but once again Florida came back and locked the set at 21-21. Auburn, however, closed out the set on a four-point rally to win 25-21.

Florida held a slim margin at the start of set four until a pair of kills by Davis tied the set at seven. The Gators, however, rallied on an eight-point run to go up 15-7. The Tigers would not go away as the team used a 10-3 run to come with a point a 19-18. A Gator kill put the visitors up at 23-20, but a Florida service error and a service ace from Fidero set the score at 24-23 in favor of Florida. The Gators closed out the set on a kill to win 25-23.

In the fifth and final set, a pair of kills by Bullock put the Tigers up 4-2 early and a Gator attack error gave Auburn a 7-5 advantage. Florida responded with a five-point run to take a 10-7 lead, but a kill by Johns and a service ace from Solverson brought Auburn within a point at 12-11. The Gators pushed to close out the set on a 3-0 run to win 15-11.

Auburn closes out its home schedule on Nov. 14 when SEC West foe Ole Miss comes to town for a 1:30 p.m. match. The Tigers will honor their five seniors prior to the match.



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