AUBURN, Ala. – The Auburn volleyball capped a full weekend Sunday in Auburn Arena and fell to No. 7 Kentucky, 3-0 (28-26, 25-21, 25-18). The Tigers moved to 14-9 overall and 7-7 in the Southeastern Conference.
“We were very efficient offensively to start, but had some trouble slowing their offense down,” head coach Rick Nold said. “It really became a serve and pass kind of game and they were able to be in system a little too much. With their athleticism, Kentucky is able to take advantage of that and they did.”
Sophomore Shaina White and junior Brenna McIlroy had double-digit kills for Auburn on the day. White had a team-best 12 kills and a .500 hitting percentage, while McIlroy chipped in 11 kills. Senior Macy Reece totaled nine kills and freshman Anna Stevenson followed with seven and another .500 hitting clip.
Senior setter Alexa Filley recorded her 16th double-double with 36 assists and 12 digs. Classmate Jesse Earl had a team-high 14 digs with two aces and sophomore Karis Beasley finished with 13 in the backrow.
Kentucky (22-3, 13-1) was led by Leah Edmond with 20 kills, while Kaz Brown added 12. Libero Ashley Dusek had a match-high 22 digs and setter Madison Lilley finished with 43 assists.
Auburn opened up the match with a 5-2 lead and a kill from McIlroy sent the squad on a run to push an 11-7 advantage. The Wildcats responded with a five-point swing, forcing a Tiger timeout with UK up 17-15. AU regrouped and with a pair of kills by Stevenson and another two from McIlroy, the home squad went ahead at 22-20. UK errors put Auburn at set point, 24-21, before the Wildcats capitalized on AU errors to lock it up at 24-all. After going back-and-forth, the nationally-ranked Wildcats closed out the first with a 28-26 win.
The second set had Auburn take a slim lead to start, 6-5, on a White kill. A strike from Gwyn Jones made it 12-11 before a pair of UK points pushed the visitors up at 13-12. The Tigers responded with the help of two Reece kills and reached 15 first, 15-14. Kentucky used strong swings to regain the lead at 20-19, forcing an Auburn timeout, and held on for the set win, 25-21.
The Wildcats kept momentum in the final stanza to go up 10-5. Another long UK run made it 18-11 before a pair of kills from Jones cut the visitor’s lead at 20-15. Kentucky, however, sealed the match with a 25-18 victory.
Auburn takes to the road for a Wednesday-night tilt in Baton Rouge, La., facing LSU at 7 p.m. CT in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The two Tiger squads will go head-to-head live on SEC Network.