Big Test for Tigers as #13 Florida, South Carolina Visit
Sept. 29, 2011
AUBURN - The Auburn Tigers (8-6, 2-2 SEC) face the 13th-ranked Florida Gators to open the third weekend of Southeastern Conference play Friday at the Student Activities Center. First serve is set for 7 p.m. On Sunday, South Carolina visits for a 1:30 p.m. match. Admission is free for both matches.
The first 250 fans will receive an Auburn Volleyball t-shirt, and fans are encouraged to interact with the Tigers via Twitter (@AUVolleyball) and Facebook (facebook.com/Pages/Auburn-Volleyball) for a chance to win prizes including an iPod Touch.
Sunday's match with South Carolina is Auburn-Opelika Parks & Recreation Day. In addition, the Auburn players and coaches will hold an autograph session following the match.
Live video and GameTracker for both matches will be available through AuburnTigers.com.
ABOUT AUBURN VOLLEYBALL
Auburn enters the week led offensively by senior Kelly Fidero, who has 137 kills (2.91/set) on the season. In Southeastern Conference play, Fidero ranks third in the league in kills with 51 (4.25/set) and sixth in hitting percentage at .419. She had 29 kills and a .490 hitting percentage in the Tigers' two wins over Alabama and Ole Miss last week. Sarah Bullock anchors the other side of the floor with 38 kills (3.17/set) in SEC play and 30 digs, ranking second on the team in both categories. Chelsea Wintzinger has emerged as the team's primary setter, averaging 9.00 assists/set in SEC play.
As a team, the Gators are hitting an SEC-best .291 and rank second in the league in service aces (1.67/set) and third in blocks (2.42/set). Florida is also holding opponents to a .152 hitting percentage, the second-best mark in the league.
Individually, two Gators rank in the SEC's top 10 in hitting percentage. Junior Tangerine Wiggs hits at a .347 clip (5th in SEC) with 100 kills and just 25 errors this season, while senior Kelly Murphy ranks sixth in the league with a .343 percentage. Senior Kristy Jaeckel leads the Gators in kills with 143 (3.25/set). Murphy ranks second in the league in aces with 22 on the year (0.49/set), while freshman Taylor Unroe is in the SEC's top 10 in both aces (0.31/set) and digs (3.69/set).
Florida coach Mary Wise is in her 20th season at UF and has a 721-135 career record. The Gators were the overwhelming preseason pick to repeat as SEC Champions in 2011.
FLORIDA SERIES NOTES
LAST TIME vs. FLORIDA - NOV. 7, 2010
After Florida took the first set, Auburn won the next two, putting the Tigers' first series win since 1990 within reach. The Gators tried to pull away in set four, but Auburn would close the gap to 19-18 and eventually 24-23. The deciding set would be a back-and-forth affair with the Tigers within a point at 12-11, but Florida finished on a 3-0 run to take the match.
SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA
Carolina leads the SEC in digs per set with 17.94, more than a full 1.5 digs/set better than the next-best team. The Gamecocks are hitting .250 as a team, ranking fouth in the SEC, and are holding opponents to a .194 mark.
Individually, sophomore Juliette Thevenin ranks fourth in the league with 3.85 kills/set and 181 total kills on the year. Sophmore Frankie Vain leads the Gamecocks and ranks eighth in the league with a .337 hitting percentage, and junior Taylor Bruns is emerging as one of the league's top setters with 10.57 assists/set, ranking fifth in the league.
The early SEC schedule has not been kind to Carolina as the Gamecocks have dropped their first three league matches, the first at Mississippi State and the next two to traditional SEC East powers Tennessee and Kentucky.
Carolina head coach Scott Swanson is in his first year with the Gamecocks after spending five years as associate head coach at Minnesota.The Gamecocks, who finished fifth in the SEC East last season, were once again the preseason pick for that spot.
SOUTH CAROLINA SERIES NOTES
LAST TIME vs. SOUTH CAROLINA - NOV. 5, 2010
Sophomore Sarah Bullock finished with her seventh double-double of the season, tallying 12 kills and 13 digs for Auburn. Sophomore Katherine Culwell had 10 kills, while senior Morgan Johns finished with seven. Junior Christina Solverson had a team-best 23 assists.
South Carolina (5-19, 2-12 SEC) was led by Juliette Thevenin, who recorded 10 kills and a match-high 17 digs. Frankie Vain and Hannah Lawing each had seven kills for the Gamecocks and setter Jordan Bradosky finished with 26 assists. Auburn hit .283 for the match and held Carolina to a .096 hitting percentage.
A LOOK AHEAD
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