Oct. 22, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn volleyball team continues its SEC homestand, hosting a pair of matches this weekend. The Tigers take on in-state rival Alabama on Friday at 6 p.m. and close out the weekend with a 1:30 p.m. match against Mississippi State on Sunday. Both matches will be held at the Student Activities Center and admission is free.
"Our rivalry match coming up on Friday is going to be a big match for this team," Wade Benson, head volleyball coach, said. "It is an early read on who could finish second in SEC West. The last couple matches between the two teams have really come down to the wire and hopefully it'll be our turn on Friday to come away with the win.
"Mississippi State is a much-improved squad and will put up a good match on Sunday," Benson added.
PACK THE ACT FRIDAY
Auburn looks to set another attendance record this season at the Student Activities Center as the Tigers "Pack The Act" Friday against Alabama.
Free "Beat Bama" t-shirts will be handed out to the first 250 fans courtesy of University Village. There will be a performance at intermission by the Auburn University Tiger Paws and a post-match autograph session with members of the Tiger volleyball squad.
AUBURN NOW 12-8 ON SEASON
Auburn split its conference matches last weekend, falling to nationally-ranked Florida 3-0 and defeating South Carolina 3-1. The Tigers are now 12-8 overall and 4-5 in the SEC. The 12 wins are the most Auburn has had since the 2006 season when the team finished the year with 13 total victories.
Freshman Sarah Bullock led the Tigers with 10 kills and 11 digs against the Gators on Friday, while junior Morgan Johns finished with nine kills.
Sophomore Kelly Fidero and freshman Katherine Culwell led all attackers with 18 kills apiece against the Gamecocks, Sunday. Culwell also picked up 12 digs on the day. Bullock finished with 10 kills and 10 digs, while Christina Solverson finished with 22 assists and 12 digs. Junior Alyssa Davis finished with nine kills and a match-high seven blocks.
TIGERS ON THE ATTACK
Auburn attackers enter the weekend as the fourth-best hitting squad in the Southeastern Conference and are 48th in the country. As a team, the Tigers are hitting .243 with 917 kills on 2362 attacks and 344 errors.
Davis remains among the conference's leaders in hitting, averaging a .324 attack percentage (107 kills, 29 errors, 241 attempts). Bullock has a team-best 178 total kills and is averaging 2.54 kills per set. Fidero is second with 158 kills, while Johns and Culwell follow with 152 and 151 total kills, respectively.
AUBURN IN THE RPI RANKINGS
In this week's RPI, the Auburn Tigers moved up nine spots from last week and are currently ranked No. 60 in the country. After finishing the 2008 campaign at No. 232, the Tigers jumped 163 spots and were ranked No. 69 in the 2009 initial NCAA Division I Volleyball RPI poll.
"The continued progression up through the RPI is a testament to how hard our team is working," Benson said. "Things continue to move in the right direction for Auburn volleyball and we hope to keep moving up."
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
The Crimson Tide come to Auburn with a 6-14 overall record and are 4-6 in the conference. Alabama dropped two tough matches last weekend, falling to Tennessee 3-1 and Kentucky 3-0.
Against the Lady Vols, Ashley Frazier led the squad with 15 kills and Brooks Webster finished with 19 digs. In the loss to Kentucky, junior Alyssa Meuth tallied 13 kills and Kayla Schmidt recorded 30 assists for the Crimson Tide.
MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
The Bulldogs enter the weekend with a 5-16 overall mark and 1-9 record in the SEC. Mississippi State hosted Kentucky and Tennessee last weekend, falling 3-0 to both squads.
Ashley Newsome and Caitlin Rance lead the Bulldogs, recording 88 and 80 total kills, respectively. Kayla Woodard has a team-best 3.44 digs per set average, while setter Dorey Gray leads the team with a 6.37 assists per set average.
The Tigers take to the road and head to Athens, Ga., for a mid-week SEC match against Georgia on Wednesday. First set is set for 6 p.m. Auburn then travels to Baton Rouge, La., for a Sunday afternoon match at LSU on Nov. 1. Match time is set for 1 p.m. and will be broadcast by Cox Sports Television.