Scouting the Wildcats
Kentucky enters the weekend with a 7-10 overall record and are 1-5 in SEC play ... UK is currently in the midst of a four-match losing streak with their last win coming over Auburn, 3-0, in Lexington, Ky.
(10/6) ... The win over the Tigers is the Wildcats' lone conference victory ... Kentucky played non-conference and Bluegrass foe Louisville in their last match, falling, 0-3, to the Cardinals.
Sissy Canfield leads the Wildcats with a .278 attack percentage and is second on the team with 60 blocks (seven solo) ... Kristen Batt leads all Wildcats with 200 kills (.210 pct) and also carries the highest number of digs on the team (153) ... Kristi Kelley plays as UK's number one setter, averaging 11.47 assists per game.
As a team, the Wildcats average 14.56 kills per game and 2.19 blocks per game while their opponents are hitting 14.74 k/game and 1.97 b/game.
Scouting the Gamecocks
The Gamecocks enter the weekend 14-3 overall and a perfect 7-0 in SEC play ... USC has run off nine consecutive wins coming into the weekend with its last loss coming at #5 Long Beach State ... USC enters the weekend ranked #24 in the country in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll.
Niece Curry leads the Gameocks with a .387 attack percentage and is one of three players to have an attack percentage over .300 ... Curry also leads USC with 3.35 kills per game ... Megan Hosp is the main table-setter for the Gamecocks, averaging 12.13 assists per game ... Curry and Berna Dwyer each average 1.07 blocks per game.
As a team Carolina averages 16.4 kills per game, which leads the SEC ... The Gamecocks also average a conference-best 2.6 service aces per game ... USC also digs 14.55 balls per game.
The Tigers and Wildcats have met 20 previous times with UK leading the series, 15-5 ... Auburn's last win over the Wildcats came in 2000 at Auburn when the Tigers won, 3-2, battling back after being down, 2-1 ... This season marks the first since 1993 that the two teams will meet more than once on the year.
South Carolina and Auburn have met 14 previous times with USC holding an 8-6 advantage ... The Gamecocks have run off seven straight wins over the Tigers ... The series is knotted at 3-3 in Auburn ... This is just the second time that AU and USC will meet more than once in a season, the last time being 1992, a Tiger sweep.
Last Time Out
Auburn had two very hard fought matches last weekend but came up short both times, losing to SEC West-leading Arkansas, 0-3 (25-30, 15-30, 27-30), and then to LSU, 0-3 (23-30, 26-30, 28-30). Senior Grace Boyd finished the weekend with six blocks while freshman Bailey Veit has 17 kills and a .256 attack percentage.
The Tigers will stay on The Plains for a rare mid-week game as the Tigers clash with their in-state rival, Alabama, on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. The night is billed as "Slam Bama Night" at Auburn.
Recapping Their Last Meetings...
The Wildcats and Tigers have met once already this season with UK coming out a 0-3 winner over Auburn (19-30, 25-30, 27-30). Junior Negin Azarbehi led the Tiger attack that afternoon, registering 10 kills on 23 attacks with just two errors for a .348 hitting percentage. Freshman Lauren Couch finished with 33 assists as junior Brittney Diaz and senior Grace Boyd each collected nine kills for the match.
Against South Carolina, AU fell to a stronger USC team, 0-3 (12-30, 16-30, 15-30). The Tigers managed just a .061 attack percentage while the Gamecocks hit .500 as a team - the highest percentage AU has allowed all season. USC aced the Tigers 15 times in the match including six by Megan Hosp.
Freshman Bailey Veit has had her A-game of late, pounding home a career-high eight kills in the loss to Mississippi State. She followed that match up by putting down 10 kills just two days later at Ole Miss. And once again she bettered her own mark, collecting 11 kills against Arkansas. For the three-match string, Veit had 29 kills, 7 blocks (two solo) and 28 digs.
Senior Grace Boyd has been raising her game above the net of late. During the trip to the Magnolia State, the Huntington Beach, Calif., native registered 10 blocks, including three solo blocks against Ole Miss. She then came back to The Plains and put the roof on six LSU attacks to give her 16 over a four-game span. Double-Trouble
Junior Negin Azerbehi had been on a string of big kill matches. From Sept. 6 until Sept. 14, the junior college tranfer strung together five consecutive double-digit kill matches. In three of those matches, she also corralled double figure digs. Her high-water mark for kills is 19 (vs. Marist) and her benchmark for digs is 21 (vs. Hartford). Her three double-doubles also lead the team.
Just for Starters
Auburn has used multiple rotations to start off its matches. The most frequent lineup has been Negin Azarbehi-Jennifer Morozov-Lauren Couch-Brittney Diaz-Grace Boyd-Bailey Veit, used eight times. However, we saw the Azarbehi-Morozov-Meika Jackson-Kathia McKenzie-Boyd-Veit lineup in both the Arkansas and LSU home matches last weekend.
Senior Grace Boyd had a very good day in Lexington, Ky., the last time the two teams met. Against the Wildcats she registered nine kills on 15 attempts with no errors. The .600 hitting percentage was a career-high for Boyd
Tigers in Tournaments
The Tigers played in four pre-conference tournaments, playing host to one and travelling to three others. AU went 1-11 in those contests with their lone win coming over Marist in the Hartford Fall Volleyball Invitational.
Senior captain Grace Boyd has been a consistent leader for the Tigers this season. Her .245 attack percentage leads AU while her 12 solo blocks (she has 47 total) is the highest mark on the team.
Diaz Is How We Do It
Brittney Diaz has been hard at work this season, averaging 2.48 k/game, the second best mark on the team. Her 466 total attacks leads the team and has connected for double-digit kills in six matches this season.
Streaks and Peaks
Auburn snapped a five-match losing streak with its 3-1 victory over Marist on Sept. 7, to close out the Hartford Volleyball Fall Invitational. Junior Negin Azarbehi led the Tigers with 19 kills in the win, an Auburn season high.
Unfortunately, the Tigers are mired in a 12-match losing streak as well as a 32-game losing streak.
The 2002 season marks the beginning of a new era in Auburn volleyball as Laura Farina takes over the helm of the program. A four-year letterwinner at Illinois and a member of the 1989 AVCA/Russell All-America second team, Farina spent the last three years as the head coach at Marquette, compiling a 46-49 (.484) record. Previous to that, Farina was an assistant coach at Michigan State.
Joining Farina's staff are Matt Darling and Steve Aird. Darling was a part of Farina's staff at Marquette and played for the nationally-ranked club volleyball ttacks with just two while an undergrad at Kentucky. Aird comes to The Plains from Penn State where he was a two-time captain for the Nittany Lions.
Grace Boyd, a senior from Huntington Beach, Calif., and Jennifer Morozov, a sophomore from Fresno, Calif., were named captains for the 2002 season, a year where their leadership will be vital to the future success of the Auburn volleyball team. Entering a year deemed for rebuilding, the captains are ready to play a pivotal role in the Tigers' 2002 season.
New in '02
Aftermany rule changes in 2001, the collegiate volleyball scene went through additional modifications this season with the addition of the libero (pronounced LEE-ber-oh) position.
The libero is a designated backrow player intended to be used as a ball-control specialist. The person must be designated at the beginning of each game and does not have to be the same person from game-to-game. The libero does not count against the team's substitutions, but the limit of 18 substitutions has been lowered to 12 this year.
Coaches Pick Gators
In a poll of the SEC's 11 head coaches, the Florida Gators have been selected to win the Southeastern Conferent title.
UF has won 11 consecutive conference crowns have have won nine of the last 10 tournament titles.