April 28, 2009
SIESTA KEY, Fla. - The Auburn volleyball team finished up its spring training on April 18, competing in the second annual SEC Coaches Beach Volleyball Championship. The tournament was part of the "Fiesta on Siesta Key," an event comprised of the SEC Coaches Beach Volleyball Championship as well as the Collegiate Beach Volleyball Challenge.
"The beach weekend was a huge success," said Auburn head coach Wade Benson. "Our top performances were from sophomores Kelly Fidero and Christina Solverson. We improved our skills on the beach and our understanding of the game was far more advanced than a year ago."
The Tennessee team of Kylie Marshall and Nikki Fowler won the Gold Division Championship while South Carolina's Bridget Dennison-Dorman and Ivana Kujudzic won the Silver Division. Georgia's Anna Dylla and Briana Bahr won the Bronze Division.
The Auburn team of Sara Shanks and Chanelle Clark represented the Tigers in the Gold Division.
Shanks and Clark lost to Georgia's team of Carla Tietz and Erika Clark 21-7, 24-22, in their first match, and to Tennessee's Kylie Marshall and Nikki Fowler 21-9, 21-18, in their second match. In the third pool match, the Tiger pair fell to South Carolina's Hannah Lawing and Jordan Bradosky 21-5, 21-13.
Shanks and Clark were defeated 21-8 by Alabama's team of Mary Catherine Aune and Brooks Webster, in the first round of Gold Division Playoffs.
Representing Auburn in the Silver Division was the team of Fidero and Solverson, taking a win, a loss and a tie in pool play.
Fidero and Solverson split their first game in pool play 18-21, 21-13 against Kentucky's team of Christine Hartmann, Becky Pavan and Gretchen Giesler. The Tigers then picked up their first win of the tournament against Georgia's team of Simone May and Michele Simmons 21-16, 21-8.
Fidero and Solverson lost their third match in pool play 21-17, 21-14 to Mississippi State's Kaitlin Wheatley and Caitlin Rance.
In the Silver Division Playoffs, Fidero and Solverson fell in the first round to Florida's Betsy Smith and Cindy Bathelt, 21-17.
Playing for Auburn in the Bronze Division was the team of Milena Bukinac and Lauren Mellor who also took a win, loss and a tie in pool play.
Bukinac and Mellor started off strong in pool play, defeating Florida's Cassandra Anderson, Elissa Hausmann, and Christina Diaz in their first match 21-11,21-8.
The team then split with Mississippi State's Mandy Mellencamp, Kayla Woodard, and Kellye Jordan 21-15, 12-21, before falling in their final match to South Carolina's Ivana Kujundzic and Bridget Dennison-Dormann, 21-15, 21-17.
The tournament concluded Auburn's spring season, with the regular season starting again in August. The Tigers will open the 2009 season at home with the War Eagle Invitational, Aug. 28-29.