Sept. 26, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn Tigers (9-3) will open Southeastern Conference play for the 2013 season on Friday night as the 18th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats (8-3) visit Auburn Arena for a 7 p.m. match.
Auburn is coming off a tough, 3-2 loss to 17th-ranked Florida State on Saturday in the inaugural match at Auburn Arena. The Wildcats played just twice last week, defeating Lipscomb and Morehead State in straight sets in a pair of home matches.
For fans unable to make it to Auburn Arena, AuburnTigers.com will have live streaming video via Auburn All-Access with Kasey Langley and Chloe Rowand calling the action. Live stats will also be available via AuburnTigers.com, and fans can follow @AUVolleyball on Twitter for continuous updates.
TICKETS: Admission is free for all Auburn volleyball matches.
ENTERING THE ARENA: Fans should enter Auburn Arena through the Scholarship Entrance on the east side or through the Student Gate on the Arena's north side. The main entrance to the Arena will be closed; however, the Auburn Team Shop will be open prior to the match.
SEATING: All seating will be general admission in the bleachers at floor level. Fans will not be permitted to enter the main concourse or upper level of the Arena.
CONCESSIONS & RESTROOMS: Concessions will be available at the Aubie Chow stand in the student lobby through the northwest tunnel. Restrooms are available through the northwest and southeast tunnels as well.
PARKING: Fans are encouraged to park in the Arena lot. Enter from Donahue Dr. or Heisman Dr. Parking is also available in the East Coliseum lot.
All-Time Series - Kentucky leads, 32-10
In Auburn - Auburn is 7-13 against Kentucky at home
Trend - Kentucky has won the last 5 meetings
Last Meeting - Kentucky 3, Auburn 0 (23-25, 14-25, 16-25); Nov. 23, 2012, in Auburn (Student Act. Center)
||Auburn Quick Hits
Auburn has an all-time record of 565-563-4 (.501) in its 42nd season of intercollegiate volleyball.
Auburn's all-time SEC record is 136-263 (.345).
Head Coach Rick Nold is in his third season at Auburn. He has a career head coaching record of 209-133 over 11+ seasons and is 37-35 in two-plus seasons at Auburn.
Seniors Katherine Culwell (6th - 836) and Camila Jersonsky (8th - 709) are among the top 10 active career kill leaders in the SEC.
Senior Camila Jersonsky is Auburn's all-time leader in career hitting percentage (.360).
Senior setter Chelsea Wintzinger earned her 2,000th career assist in the first match of the season and is now 5th all-time at Auburn with 2,264 assists.
The Tigers have had more digs than their opponent in all but one match this year. Auburn ranks 22nd in the country in digs, averaging 16.59/set. Libero Sarah Wroblicky is 4th in the SEC with 4.32 digs/set.
||First SEC Match at Auburn Arena
Friday's match will be the first Southeastern Conference volleyball match played at Auburn Arena and the second-overall match there; the Tigers hosted Florida State on Sept. 27 for the inaugural arena contest. Since the program was reinstated in 1986, the Tigers have called two other buildings home. The majority of Auburn's matches have been played at the Student Activities Center, where Auburn has put together a 158-136 (.537) all-time mark. Auburn has also played periodically at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum over the years, going 15-19 in those contests.
Auburn Arena officially opened Oct. 16, 2010, and will be in its fourth season as the home for Auburn basketball and gymnastics this season. The Arena has a capacity of 9,121 for basketball, but the setup for volleyball will generate a more intimate atmosphere as approximately 2,000 seats will be available for fans.
||Two Tigers in SEC Top 10
Seniors Katherine Culwell and Camila Jersonsky are ranked in the top 10 among active SEC players in career kills. Culwell is 6th and Jersonsky is 8th. Top 10 below (research courtesy Shawn Davis, Mizzou):
|| Career Kills
|1. Lisa Henning
|2. Juliette Thevenin
|3. Whitney Billings
|4. Desiree Elliott
|5. Brittany Northcutt
|6. Katherine Culwell
|7. Kara Morgan
|8. Camila Jersonsky
|9. Lauren O'Connor
|10. Chloe Mann
||Scouting the Wildcats
Kentucky enters Friday's match at 8-3 overall and ranked No. 18 in the latest AVCA Coaches' Poll. The Wildcats have faced two ranked opponents this season, going 1-1 in those matches (lost to #18 Florida State, def. #4 Minnesota).
Kentucky's three losses came to FSU (3-0), Illinois (3-2, currently ranked #24) and Pepperdine (3-0).
The Wildcats were picked to finish second in the SEC East this year. Last season, Kentucky finished 22-11 overall, 14-6 SEC, and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Senior Whitney Billings leads the Wildcat attack with 3.49 kills/set, and she is the Wildcats' top server with 12 aces on the year. She also averages 2.83 digs/set, second-best on the team. Another Alabama native, senior Alexandra Morgan, is hitting a team-best .381 and leads the team with 0.98 blocks/set.
Libero Jackie Napper averages 3.59 digs/set to lead the Wildcats, and sophomore setter Morgan Bergren averages 10.51 assists/set.
Head coach Craig Skinner is in his ninth season at Kentucky, where he has a 188-79 record. He is 110-46 in SEC matches since taking over in 2005.
Kentucky has a 32-10 all-time advantage over Auburn in a series that dates back to 1977.
Auburn head coach Rick Nold is a native of Louisville, Ky., where he began his coaching career at Assumption High School. UK junior libero Jackie Napper is a graduate of Assumption (but did not play for Nold).
Kentucky seniors Alexandra Morgan (Pelham) and Whitney Billings (Mountain Brook) are both Alabama natives.
LAST TIME: KENTUCKY 3, AUBURN 0 (11/23/12)
Auburn's 2012 volleyball season ended on a disappointing note as the Tigers dropped a 3-0 decision (23-25, 14-25, 16-25) to the Kentucky Wildcats on Senior Day at the Student Activities Center.
Poor play by Auburn in the serving and passing game was the biggest difference in the match. Kentucky recorded eight service aces and were able to regularly take Auburn out of system, while the Tigers had just one service ace while committing four errors.
Katherine Culwell led Auburn's offense with 12 of the Tigers' 32 kills. Sarah Bullock added eight kills in her final match as a Tiger. Defensively, the Tigers struggled with Kentucky's attack as no player reached double-digit digs. Chelsea Wintzinger and MacKenzy Harper were the Auburn leaders with seven apiece.
Kentucky was led by Whitney Billings with 12 kills and 12 digs. Libero Stephanie Klefot added 15 digs to lead the Wildcat defense, and Alexandra Morgan posted nine kills along with seven blocks. The Wildcats hit for a .326 percentage, the highest by an Auburn opponent this year, while Auburn swung at a .147 clip. Kentucky had 42 kills to Auburn's 32, 42 digs to Auburn's 37, and eight blocks to Auburn's three.
Auburn will wrap up a three-match homestand next Wednesday, Oct. 2, as the Alabama Crimson Tide visit Auburn Arena for the annual "Iron Bowl of Volleyball." Match time is set for 7 p.m., and admission is free. The match is the annual "All Auburn, All Orange" contest as well - fans are encouraged to wear orange.