Nov. 16, 2008
ATHENS, Ga. - For the third match in a row, the Auburn volleyball team (6-23, 1-17 SEC) won the first set of the match, but could not hold on for the victory as the Tigers fell to Georgia (16-12, 9-8 SEC), 3-1 (25-12, 23-25, 14-25, 22-25) Sunday in Athens, Ga.
Fourteen of the 15 Auburn players saw action in the match with seven different Tigers picking up at least one kill. Senior Jessica Glover led Auburn with 18 kills, hitting .300 with eight digs.
"This was another match where we were right there, but could not close the door on them," said head coach Wade Benson. "Things like that come with experience and that is one of the things we are missing, but we have definitely made some strides from a few weeks ago."
Auburn struck first in the match, winning the opening set 25-12, its largest win of the season. But, the Bulldogs were able to adjust, especially on the block, and rally back for 25-23, 25-14, 25-22 wins to take the 3-1 match victory. UGA ended the match with 14 team blocks, led by Ann Dylla with seven.
"Georgia is a big, physical team and they threw some things at us that we struggled with," said Benson. "We tried some different combinations and subbed a lot of people in, but we had a hard time finding a good offensive rhythm and getting around the block."
Freshman Kelly Fidero finished second on the team in kills with 12, followed by sophomore Jonelle Wallace with nine and freshman Olympia Haney with eight. Defensively for Auburn, it was sophomore Liz Crouch leading the team with a season-best 26 digs.
For Georgia, it was Maria Taylor leading the team with 15 kills and a .412 attack percentage. Lindsey Gehan was second on the team with nine kills, followed by Dylla with six. Carla Tietz led the defense with 17 digs while Kathleen Gates and Valentina Gonzalez added five and six blocks, respectively, to follow Dylla's seven.
In the first set, Auburn jumped out to a 10-3 lead on the strength of four Glover Kills. The Tigers extended their lead to 13 at the 18-5 mark, cruising to a 25-12 victory. AU hit a blazing .448 in the opening set, holding Georgia to a .115 attack percentage.
Auburn again took an early lead in the second set, holding a five-point advantage at the 12-7 mark, but Georgia rallied back to take a lead of its own at 15-14. Auburn came back to tie the set at 20-20, but the Bulldogs were able to capitalize on seven blocks and Auburn errors for the 25-23 win.
The Tigers were able to take an early 7-4 lead in the third set after a pair of Wallace service aces, but a 9-0 UGA run gave the Bulldogs a lead it would not give up en route to the 25-14 win. Georgia hit .409 in the set, compared to a .147 attack percentage from Auburn.
Georgia led from the start in the fourth and final set, building a quick 4-1 advantage the Bulldogs would hold through most of the set. Auburn cut the lead to one at the 10-9 mark, but an 8-1 UGA run put the Tigers in a hole they could not get out of in the 25-22 set and match loss.
The Tigers return home next weekend for their final series of the season, hosting Kentucky and Tennessee. Action begins at 6 p.m., Friday in the Student Activities Center against the Wildcats and follows at 1:30 p.m., Sunday against the Lady Vols.