Sept. 1, 2011
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AUBURN - After rolling past Alabama A&M in Tuesday's home opener, the Auburn Tigers will hit the road for the first four of nine straight matches away from home, starting with the Blue Raider Bash in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The tournament, hosted by Middle Tennessee, runs Friday-Sunday at MTSU's Alumni Memorial Gym.
The Tigers enter the tournament with a record of 2-1 after splitting a pair of matches at last week's Active Ankle Challenge in Gainesville, Fla., then sweeping Alabama A&M Tuesday night. This week, Auburn faces Florida International (2-1) at 5 p.m. Friday, Austin Peay (2-1) and Middle Tennessee (0-2) Saturday, and Missouri (4-0) at noon Sunday.
Live stats and live video will be available through GoBlueRaiders.com. Additionally, fans can follow @AUVolleyball on Twitter for live updates throughout the weekend's matches.
Through the first week of play, Auburn ranks second in the SEC in blocks/set with 2.44 (22 blocks in nine sets). Sophomore Chloe Rowand leads all SEC players with 14 total blocks (1.56/set), and senior Kelly Fidero is in a tie for sixth in the league with 1.00/set.
NO KILLS FOR YOU
After holding two straight opponents under a .100 hitting percentage, Auburn leads the SEC in opponent attack percentage with foes hitting for a scant .043 average. Tiger opponents have only recorded 70 kills (7.77/set), the lowest number of any team in the league.
Sophomore middle blocker Camila Jersonsky is expected to return to the Auburn lineup this weekend after missing the first three matches. Jersonsky returned to the Auburn campus late last week after spending the month of August competing for the Argentinian National Team in the FIVB World Volleyball Grand Prix.
SCOUTING FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL
Florida International enters this week's tournament at 2-1 overall after opening their season at the Cal Molten Classic where the Golden Panthers defeated Fairfield and UC Riverside 3-0 and fell to the No. 3-ranked Cal Bears in straight sets. Through three matches, FIU is hitting .253 as a team but has been a presence at the net, totalling 22.0 blocks (2.4/set). Sabrina Gonzalez leads the way with 22 kills on 45 attempts with just four errors (.400), with Andrea Lakovic (20-4-43/.372) and Marija Prsa (25-6-69/.275) also lurking. Lakovic also has 15 blocks (1.67/set) thru three matches. Renele Forde is the primary setter with 64 assists (9.14/set) thru three matches. Last year, FIU went 20-11 overall and finished third in the Sun Belt Conference.
SCOUTING AUSTIN PEAY
Austin Peay is 1-2 overall after opening their season at the Hampton Inn Bama Bash in Tuscaloosa, defeating Alabama State 3-0 but falling to both Alabama and Texas State by a 3-1 count. The Lady Govs are led offensively by Nikki Doyle, who has 39 kills on 116 attacks with 16 errors for a .198 hitting percentage. Cami Fields is averaging 9.18 assists per set as the team's primary setter, while Paige Economos leads the team with 61 digs (5.55/set). APSU only averages 1.18 blocks per set, but their dig numbers make up for it with a 17.2 digs/set average. Last year, the Lady Govs finished 26-8 overall and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. They fell in the first round to Illinois.
SCOUTING MIDDLE TENNESSEE
Middle Tennessee is 0-2 after a pair of matches against tough competition last weekend at the Arkansas Invitational, falling to both the host Razorbacks and No. 15-ranked Colorado State by a 3-0 score. Despite the losses, junior Ashley Adams was named the Sun Belt Player of the Week after hitting .302 over the weekend with 30 kills on 63 attacks with just 11 errors. Auburn faced MTSU last year at this event, coming away with a five-set victory. Camila Jersonsky had 11 kills and four blocks in the win.
Missouri enters the week at 4-0 after sweeping through its home tournament last week with straight-set wins over Binghamton, Idaho State, Tulane and North Dakota State. As a team, the Tigers are hitting .415 and holding opponents to a .119 hitting percentage. A huge part of the offensive equation is setter Molly Kreklow, who was named the AVCA National Player of the Week after averaging 12.42 assists/set (149 total) in the four matches. She also hit .571 (13 kills, one error, 21 attacks) for the weekend and recorded 16 digs. Four Missouri hitters are hitting above .400, led by Brittney Brimmage (.538) and Emily Wilson (.488). Whitney Little has been tough at the net, recording 15 blocks (1.25/set); Mizzou is averaging 2.5 blocks/set as a team.
A LOOK AHEAD
Auburn will wrap up non-conference play next weekend with a trip to the Hurricane Invitational in Coral Gables, Fla. The Tigers will face host Miami on Friday, Sept. 9, before playing No. 17 Oklahoma and Florida A&M Saturday.