Tigers Rally Falls Short Against Tide, Fall 2-3
October 22, 2002
OH Brittney Diaz
AUBURN– Auburn rallied from two games down to tie the match at two games apiece and were two points away from victory but fell just shy of the upset, falling to intra-state rival Alabama, 2-3, on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Junior Brittney Diaz led the Tigers with 20 kills while senior Kathia McKenzie registered a 12-kill, 20-dig double-double as AU snapped a 40-game winless streak. Auburn fell to 1-20, 0-9 Southeastern Conference with the loss while Alabama moved to 15-8, 6-3 SEC on the year.
“Our effort was good tonight,” Auburn Coach Laura Farina said. “We put people to the task at the intermission and the responded. Brittney had a great match. Kathia came out and did some really nice things for us.”
Trailing two games to none, the Tigers came out of the intermission with a lot of fire. Just as game two had started, the third game was very tight early with neither team breaking more than two points out in front of the other. With the Tigers trailing by a point, 24-23, Diaz put down her eighth kill of the game to knot the game for the 18th time in game three alone. The two teams traded points again before a Grace Boyd service ace put AU ahead, 26-25. Freshman Bailey Veit followed with two of her four kills for the game to put the Tigers ahead for good as AU captured game three, 30-26, breaking their winless streak.
The Tigers found themselves in another tight affair in the fourth game. After extending their lead to four three times, the Crimson Tide rallied within a point, 16-15. Again a Diaz kill sparked the Tigers as AU re-upped its lead to four, 21-17, prompting a ‘Bama time out. Diaz continued to shine, knocking home three more kills during AU’s 9-7 run to close out game four, 30-24, and send the match to a deciding fifth game.
Alabama took control early in the final game of the night, breaking out to an 8-2 lead into the side change. Auburn put together a 9-3 run of its own to knot the game at 11-11. Two more ties ensued to bring the ledger to 13-13 before the Crimson Tide closed out the game and match thanks to an AU attack error and a Crimson Tide block.
Alabama won game one, 30-26, which saw the Tigers close within four after trailing by as many as seven late. The Crimson Tide then easily took game two, 30-13, even though AU held things tight up to an 11-10 ‘Bama advantage.
Alabama outhit AU, .220 to .196 for the night and were led by Erin Heffner’s 21 kills. She was one of four Crimson Tide players with double-figure kills. Auburn’s Veit finished with a career-high 12 kills while freshman setter Mieka Jackson had a career-best 43 assists.
The win was Alabama head coach Judy Green’s 500th career victory.
|| (15-8, 6-3 SEC)
|| (1-20, 0-9 SEC)