Oct. 25, 2012
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AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn's volleyball team will wrap up October with a road swing across both Southeastern Conference divisions this weekend, traveling to South Carolina and Ole Miss for a pair of SEC matches Friday and Sunday.
The Tigers (13-8, 4-7 SEC) will face South Carolina at 6 p.m. Friday at USC's Volleyball Competition Facility in Columbia, S.C., before making the journey across four states to face Ole Miss at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Oxford, Miss.
Live audio and live stats for both matches will be available through AuburnTigers.com. South Carolina will also provide a live video stream for Friday's match at GamecocksOnline.com. In addition, fans can follow @AUVolleyball on Twitter for updates throughout the weekend.
Auburn has dropped four straight matches in SEC play, including a pair of tough battles last weekend against LSU and Missouri, where Auburn fell despite more kills in both matches. They will face a South Carolina team (15-8, 3-8 SEC) Friday night that is also looking for some SEC wins, having fallen in eight of their last nine conference matches. Auburn defeated South Carolina 3-1(25-27, 25-16, 25-18, 25-22) in the teams' earlier meeting this season on Sept. 21.
"We played South Carolina earlier in the season, and it was a battle at our place," Auburn head coach Rick Nold said. "They started off really well, but (since then) they've been going through some of the same issues we've been dealing with. We'll have to go back and look at some of the things we did well when they came here.
Ole Miss (10-10, 4-7 SEC), meanwhile, hit its stride last weekend with a pair of home victories over Missouri (3-1) and the aforementioned Gamecocks (3-0). The Rebels had struggled through the early part of their SEC schedule with six of their first nine matches on the road, but Sunday's match with the Tigers wraps up a two-week homestand. It will also be the only meeting between Auburn and Ole Miss this year; the Rebels are one of two teams, along with Tennessee, that will not make a return trip to the Plains.
"We haven't seen Ole Miss this year," Nold said. "It's a little odd, seeing some teams for the second time before you see another team for the first time. But again, we've got to take care of ourselves. It goes back to that first contact, serve or serve-receive. I thought we were better last weekend (against LSU and Missouri) than we had been, and we need to keep improving."
ABOUT THE TIGERS
Auburn has an all-time record of 552-555-4 (.499) in its 41st season of volleyball.
Auburn's all-time SEC record is 132-258 (.338).
Head Coach Rick Nold has a 24-27 (.471) record in his second season at Auburn; he is 196-124 (.611) in his 10th season as a Division I head coach.
Senior Sarah Bullock ranks in the all-time Auburn top 10 in career kills, digs and solo blocks.
Junior Camila Jersonsky is Auburn's all-time leader in career hitting percentage (.358), having met the minimum 1,000 attacks in last week's matches. Jersonsky is also 2nd in the SEC in blocks/set (1.15).
Four different Auburn players have combined for 27 double-doubles this season - Chelsea Wintzinger (10), Sarah Bullock (7), Katherine Culwell (5) and Ciara Richards (5).
Auburn ranks 2nd in the SEC in opponent hitting percentage (.171) and digs/set (16.70).
The Tigers are 11-2 this season when hitting .200 or better as a team.
Auburn is 11-2 this year when holding opponents below a .200 hitting percentage.
Assistant coach Kris Grunwald, in the first year of his second stint at Auburn, has never finished a season at Auburn with a record of .500 or below.
SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA
South Carolina enters the weekend at 15-8 overall, 3-8 in SEC play.
The Gamecocks have won two of their last three matches but dropped seven straight before defeating Coastal Carolina and Mississippi State last week.
Auburn and South Carolina have faced six common opponents this year, all in SEC play. Both teams are 3-4 in those matches.
South Carolina is second in the SEC overall in hitting percentage (.262) but 12th in opponent hitting percentage (.228). In SEC play, Carolina is 11th in hitting percentage (.199) and last in opponent hitting (.295).
Junior Juliette Thevenin is third in the SEC in kills (4.19/set) and ranks eighth among active SEC players in career kills.
Sophomore Cara Howley ranks fourth in the SEC with 24 service aces (0.31/set).
South Carolina has lost three straight SEC matches at home after winning its first two.
Carolina leads the all-time series 21-12, but Auburn has won five of the last seven meetings, including this season's first meeting in Auburn.
LAST TIME: AUBURN 3, CAROLINA 1 (9/21/12)
Auburn got a combined 39 kills from Sarah Bullock and Katherine Culwell and used a strong service game to defeat previously unbeaten South Carolina 3-1 (25-27, 25-16, 25-18, 25-22). The Tigers had four different players with double-doubles and were able to use a strong service game to keep the Gamecocks off-balance throughout the final three sets. The Tigers also hit .342 as a team and got big performances from numerous players while holding South Carolina to a .241 hitting mark.
Bullock came within one kill of her career-high, putting down 20 balls in the match while hitting for a .391 percentage. She also recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 13 digs, one of five Tigers with double-digit digs. Bullock was also Auburn's strongest passer, recording 43 service receptions without an error. Culwell finished with 19 kills and 12 dig, and Camila Jersonsky had her fourth match of the season in double-digits, posting 10 kills to go along with seven blocks and five digs. Chloe Rowand hit .583 for the match, putting down seven kills on 12 attacks with no errors.
Ciara Richards and Sarah Wroblicky were key components of the service game that kept the Gamecocks off-balance throughout the final three sets as the two combined for five of Auburn's eight service aces. It marked Auburn's most aces in a match since recording 11 against Tennessee-Martin on Aug. 28, 2010. Auburn had 65 kills to Carolina's 54 and won the digs battle 75-65. The Tigers also recorded 10 blocks in the match while South Carolina had just four.
SCOUTING OLE MISS
Ole Miss enters the weekend 10-10 overall, 4-7 in SEC play.
Last week, Ole Miss earned a sweep over Missouri (3-1) and South Carolina (3-0) at home. Sunday's match is Ole Miss' only contest of the week.
Freshman Ty Laporte ranks ninth in the SEC in hitting percentage (.327).
Junior Kara Morgan averages 3.26 kills/set, 12th-best in the SEC, and she also ranks sixth in the league with 20 service aces (0.29/set).
Libero Ashley Veach averages 4.51 digs/set to rank fourth in the SEC.
MB Nakeyta Clair was named the SEC Freshman of the Week last week with 27 kills and 15 blocks in the Rebels' two wins over South Carolina and Missouri last week, hitting .595 for the weekend and .706 vs. Missouri.
Ole Miss and Auburn split the teams' two meetings last season with each team winning on its home floor. Likewise, the teams have split the last six meetings over the previous three seasons.
Auburn assistant coach Kris Grunwald served as an assistant at Ole Miss from 2002-05.
LAST TIME: OLE MISS 3, AUBURN 1 (10/28/11)
Auburn's volleyball team dropped a tough four-setter on the road, falling to Ole Miss 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 23-25, 19-25) at the Gillom Sports Center. The Tigers fell for the seventh straight match in SEC play while Ole Miss won its second in a row, avenging a loss to the Tigers from earlier in the season.
Senior Kelly Fidero led Auburn with 12 kills and hit for a .345 percentage, while Camila Jersonsky hit .364 with 10 kills. Sarah Bullock recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 10 kills and 16 digs. Sarah Wroblicky led the Tigers with 21 digs, and Chelsea Wintzinger had 44 assists. Jersonsky and Courtney McDonald recorded three blocks apiece.
The Tigers hit just .160 in the match to the Rebels' .235; the teams were even with 54 kills apiece, but Auburn had 29 errors to Ole Miss' 19. Auburn won the digs battle 70-64, but Ole Miss had 10 blocks to the Tigers' eight.
A LOOK AHEAD
Five of Auburn's final seven matches are at home, beginning with a pair of SEC contests next weekend. Auburn will look to avenge a pair of earlier losses to Arkansas (Friday, 7 p.m.) and Georgia (Sunday, 1:30) at the Student Activities Center.