Tigers Outlast Mercer for Five-Game Match Win
Sept. 8, 2004
MACON, Ga. - The Auburn volleyball team needed five games to down Mercer on Wednesday night as the Tigers outlasted the Bears, 3-2 (30-26, 30-28, 26-30, 25-30, 15-13), at Mercer’s University Center. Ashlee Johns led the Tigers with 19 kills, one of five Tigers with double-digit kills.
“I think when you have a young group of players on the court like we do with half the team being freshmen, learning how to play well on the road requires more mental toughness than is required to play at home,” AU Coach Laura Farina said. “I am very happy that we won the first two games and I am really happy that we won game five. In between games two and five was some pretty ugly volleyball for Auburn.”
Freshmen Whitney Jacob (15) and Rachel Shanks (16) combined for 31 kills with Jacob finishing with a .464 attack percentage, committing just two errors on 28 total attacks. Jordan Elliott ran the offense to the tune of a career-high 76 assists while Jennifer Buckert led the defense with 14 digs. Jacob also contributed six blocks.
The Tigers seemed to be in control following the first two games, winning 30-26 and 30-28, but could not put the Bears away in three, falling behind by as many as four in the third game, 25-21, before falling by the final score of 30-26.
After never really threatening in game four, the Tigers took a fast three-point lead in the fifth game, only to see MU knot the match at 4-4. Auburn continued to try and put the Bears away, but Mercer found a way to tie the score five more times.
With game five tied at 12-12, Johns put down her final kill of the night, prompting the Bears to call a timeout. A Mercer attack error preceded a Bear kill and an Auburn timeout. Jacob then closed out the match with a kill to the middle of the court off of a Elliott pass to the right line.
“Whitney (Jacob) had a great match,” Farina said. “Finally when we were able to pass in rotation when she was front row, her ability to hit off of one foot over blocks and around blocks really gave us some points at times when we needed them including finishing the match on that slide attack. We knew we needed to get her more into the offense attack to be successful and we were able to do it.”
The win moved the Tigers’ record to 3-1 on the season, matching their start from the 2000 season. Mercer fell to 2-3.
The match was the second consecutive five-game match that the Tigers played after falling to Iowa State, 3-2, on Saturday, Sept. 4.
The Tigers will board a plane on Thursday and head for Corvallis, Ore., where they will participate in the Salbasgeon Suites Invitational with St. Mary’s, Oregon State and Oral Roberts. The Tigers first match will pit them against St. Mary’s, who are receiving votes in the latest AVCA/USA Today top 25 poll, on Friday at 7 p.m. PT.
Auburn 30 30 26 25 15
Mercer 26 28 30 30 13