Volleyball Opens SEC Play at Miss. State, Texas A&M
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
<B>Sarah Bullock</b> is 49 digs shy of 1,000 for her career.

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
Sarah Bullock is 49 digs shy of 1,000 for her career.
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Sept. 13, 2012


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Auburn (9-1) at Mississippi State (4-5) | Friday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m. CT
Newell-Grissom Building | Starkville, Miss.
Live Stats | Live Video | Auburn Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Auburn (9-1) at Texas A&M (8-1) | Sunday, Sept. 16, 1 p.m. CT
Reed Arena | College Station, Texas
Live Stats | Live Video | Auburn Notes Get Acrobat Reader

AUBURN, Ala. -- The Auburn volleyball team opens Southeastern Conference play this weekend with a pair of road matches against SEC Western Division foes Mississippi State and Texas A&M on Friday and Sunday.

Auburn will travel to Starkville, Miss., to face the Bulldogs at 7 p.m. Friday at the Newell-Grissom Building, then wrap up the weekend with their first trip to College Station, Texas, to play the Aggies at 1 p.m. Sunday at Reed Arena.

Live stats and video for Friday's match are available at HailState.com, and Sunday's match will be covered by AggieAthletics.com. @AUVolleyball on Twitter will have live updates throughout both matches.

Auburn (9-1) enters conference play having won 10 of its past 11 matches and nine of 10 this season, matching the best record in school history through the first 10 contests of a season. The Tigers are led by senior Sarah Bullock (3.21 kills/set), who recorded her 1,000th career kill last weekend, and junior Camila Jersonsky (1.18 blocks/set), last week's SEC Defensive Player of the Week.

The Tigers open their 22nd season of Southeastern Conference play since reinstating the volleyball program in 1986. Auburn finished with a 5-15 mark in league play in 2011 and has an all-time league mark of 128-251 (.338).

WE'RE GOING STREAKING
Auburn has matched its best start to a season in school history, winning its first seven matches of the year. Only one other time has Auburn won its first eight matches of the year and started 9-1 (1990), and dating back to the final match of 2011, the Tigers had a nine-match winning streak for just the second time in program history before a loss to Wichita State on 9/7. A win over Mississippi State on Friday night would give Auburn a 10-1 start for the first time in history. Auburn teams that have won seven or more of their first 10 matches have finished with a winning record 7 out of 11 times.

YearFirst 10 MatchesFinal Record
1974 8-2 (5-0 start) 35-14
1990 9-1 (9-0 start) 24-13
1991 8-2 (7-0 start) 22-13
1998 8-2 (3-0 start) 22-9
1999 8-2 19-11
2003 7-3 10-18
2005 7-3 8-16
2006 7-3 13-18
2007 8-2 11-20
2009 7-3 (4-0 start) 16-15
2010 8-2 (4-0 start) 21-13
2012 9-1 (8-0 start) ???

BULLOCK GETS 1000TH KILL; SEEKS MORE HISTORY
Senior Sarah Bullock became the 13th player in Auburn history to record 1,000 career kills, reaching the milestone in Auburn's 3-0 win over SMU on Sept. 8 - doing so in front of numerous friends and family from her nearby hometown of Allen, Texas. She is the first Auburn player to hit the four-digit mark that has played exclusively in the 25-point rally scoring era. She will look to make more history in the coming weeks as she is just 49 digs shy of 1,000 for her career. Only four other players in Auburn history have finished their careers with 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs:

Player (Years) Kills Digs
Jaunelle Hamilton (1997-00) 1,848 1,002
Allyson Beecroft (1993-96) 1,727 1,249
Rachel Shanks (2004-07) 1,319 1,185
Gretchen Thompson (1986-89) 1,062 1,495
Sarah Bullock (2009-present) 1,007 951

BULLOCK THIRD AMONG ACTIVE SEC PLAYERS
Senior Sarah Bullock heads into this weekend ranked third among active SEC players in career kills. The top 10 is below:

Player Team Career 2012
1. Jasmine Norton Arkansas 1,499 149
2. Kayla Fitterer Alabama 1,082 76
3. Sarah Bullock Auburn 1,007 106
4. Ashley Frazier Kentucky 971 120
5. Lisa Henning Missouri 934 145
6. Kelsey Robinson Tennessee 905 160
7. Juliette Thevenin South Carolina 815 144
8. Madie Jones LSU 807 86
9. Lindsey Miller Texas A&M 799 69
10. Kayla Jeter Tennessee 757 37

JERSONSKY NAMED SEC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF WEEK
Junior Camila Jersonsky was named the SEC Volleyball Co-Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 10 after her performances against Troy, Texas State, Wichita State and SMU. Jersonsky racked up a total of 21 blocks (1.62/set) over the four-match stretch, recording at least six in each of the three matches at the SMU Doubletree Classic. Her season-high of seven blocks in the three-set win over SMU matched her best output from last season, when she had seven kills on two occasions.

She led an Auburn defense that recorded at least eight blocks in each of the four matches during the week for a total of 38.5 team blocks (2.96/set) and held the Tigers' four opponents to a .162 hitting percentage. Jersonsky also had 27 kills and hit .286 for the week, including nine kills and a .412 hitting percentage in the win over SMU.

SCOUTING MISSISSIPPI STATE

  • Mississippi State enters this week 4-5 overall in coach Jenny Hazelwood's 12th season. The Bulldogs are unranked.
  • State has wins over Jackson State, ULM, Sam Houston State and Tulane; losses came to Kennesaw State, Boston College, Northern Iowa, Southern Cal and Pittsburgh.
  • The Bulldogs return three starters and seven letter-winners from a team that went 12-17 (7-13 SEC) in 2011.
  • 10 of MSU's 13 players are freshmen or sophomores.
  • Taylor Scott (3.15 kills/set) and Sarah Nielsen (3.03 kills/set) lead the Bulldog offense.
  • Libero Roxanne McVey ranks 2nd in the NCAA in digs/set (6.00).
  • Mississippi State won both matches against Auburn in 2011, taking a 3-2 decision on Oct. 9 in Starkville and sweeping the Tigers 3-0 on Nov. 13 in Auburn.

SCOUTING TEXAS A&M

  • Texas A&M enters the week 8-1 overall in coach Laurie Corbelli's 20th season. The Aggies are receiving votes in this week's AVCA Top 25.
  • Auburn and Texas A&M have one common opponent so far in 2012. Both the Tigers and Aggies defeated Texas State 3-0.
  • A&M's only loss on the season came to Southern California, currently ranked No. 3 nationally.
  • The Aggies will be Auburn's fourth opponent of the season that qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2011. A&M advanced to the second round.
  • A&M returns four starters plus a libero from a team that went 23-8 overall (11-5 Big 12) in 2011.
  • Alisia Kastmo (3.37 kills/set; .275 pct.) and Tori Mellinger (2.78/set) lead the Texas A&M offense, and Megan Pendergast (3.75 digs/set) and Lindsey Miller (1.27 blocks/set) anchor the Aggie defense.
  • Auburn is 0-2 all-time against Texas A&M with both prior matches at neutral sites. The Aggies won the last meeting 3-0 on Sept. 8, 2007, in San Antonio at the UTSA Tournament. This is Auburn's first trip to College Station, and this will be the first meeting in any sport between the two schools that counts as a conference game.

A LOOK AHEAD
Auburn will open its home SEC schedule with a pair of matches next Friday and Sunday, Sept. 21 & 23, at the Student Activities Center. The Tigers will face South Carolina at 7 p.m. Friday, then square off with archrival Alabama at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free to all home Auburn volleyball matches.