Tigers Debut with a Win for the First Time in Four Years
Box Score l Photo Gallery
September 3, 2004
-- Freshman Whitney Jacob put a kill down the line off of a pass from classmate Jordan Elliott to get the season started and then also hammered home the final kill in game three as the Auburn volleyball team opened up the 2004 season with a 3-0 win over East Tennessee State in the Mizuno/Auburn Challenge. The Tigers won 30-25, 30-28, 30-23, marking the first time since the 2000 season that AU has opened the season with a victory.
"This is a great way to start the season," AU junior Bailey Veit said. "Our freshmen really stepped up and played well. It shows that our practice and hard work is beginning to pay off. This gives us great momentum heading into tomorrow's matches."
Freshman Rachel Shanks from Madison, Ala., led the Tigers with 11 kills while Elliott, from Kyle, Texas, hoisted 34 assists in her collegiate debut. Jacob, from Coppell, Texas, finished with nine kills on 20 attacks with just one error for a .400 hitting percentage. Senior Ashlee Johns (Nixa, Mo.) picked up where she left off last season, posting 10 kills to go along with a team-high 13 digs for the eighth double-double in her Auburn career.
"This was a good win for us," AU Coach Laura Farina said. "Jordan Elliott did an exceptional job of running the offense and Whitney also played very well. It was good to get some of the first-match jitters out of the way for our freshmen. Tonight was a very good sign."
With a starting lineup that had only two returnees on the floor, the Tigers wasted little time in acclimating the newcomers. After the first game, junior transfer Jennifer Amobi had already hammered four kills of her eight kills while Jacob and Shanks both had three off of 13 Elliott assists.
Veit finished with nine digs, six kills and a team-best six blocks, three of which were solo.
The Auburn crowd of over 500 saw the first season-opening victory in Farina's six-year career. The crowd was also treated to a mini comeback by the Tigers, who found themselves down by three points, 27-24, in game two before rallying to tie the game at 28-all and winning on a Johns ace.
In the first match of the day, Katie Kruenegel put down 14 kills on 29 attempts to lead Iowa State to a 3-0 win over Birmingham Southern. Jana Smelley led the Panthers with 14 kills while Lindsey Herzog had 25 digs. Game scores were 30-27, 30-24, 30-22.
The Mizuno/Auburn Challenge will conclude with two sessions on Saturday. The first session will feature Iowa State vs. East Tennessee State at 10 a.m. CT followed by Auburn vs. Birmingham Southern at noon. The afternoon session will put ETSU and BSC against each other at 5 p.m. and then AU and ISU in a 7 p.m. match. Admission to all matches is free.
Birmingham Southern (0-1) 27 24 22
Iowa State (1-0) 30 30 30
East Tennessee State (0-1) 25 28 23
Auburn (1-0) 30 30 30