AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn’s fourth season under head coach Rick Nold got underway Thursday as the Tigers welcomed their returning veterans and newcomers back to campus for fall practice.
On Thursday, Auburn worked through two sessions at the Student Activity Center on campus and The Tigers will go through two-a-days until the start of the fall semester, which begin August 18. A year ago, Auburn finished with a 19-11 overall record and 10 wins in SEC play, its most since 2010.
“We had a good year in 2013, but we wanted more,” Nold said. “Starting out 0-4 in the league and the finishing 10-4 against our conference opponents down the stretch showed how much character our players have, but we’re focused on taking this program to the next level, which is getting to the NCAA Tournament. We’re excited to get back practicing and acclimating our players to our system.”
Preseason camp will feature several position battles and give the Tigers a chance to work their six newcomers into their system before the regular season begins Aug. 29 versus North Dakota at the George Washington Invitational.
Auburn returns the sophomore duo of Stephanie Campbell and Emily Klitzke on the front row for 2014. Campbell became the first Auburn freshman since 2009 to start all 30 matches, playing in every set. Klitzke nailed down a starting job as an outside hitter midway through the year, finishing with 19 starts in 24 games played in 2013.
After graduating six seniors from last season’s squad, Nold and his staff will also get a chance to mix in six newcomers when practice begins. The group includes five freshman as well as Cincinnati transfer Breanna Barksdale.
“Obviously, (the newcomers) will play a huge impact in our success for this season. They all have a wide range of talent and it will be fun to see how the mesh as a young team. It’s exciting to see how they fit in and it will be fun to watch,” Nold said.