Auburn Volleyball LSU - Arkansas Preview
Auburn (8-10, 3-7 SEC) at LSU (11-9, 3-7 SEC)
Friday, Oct. 29 - Baton Rouge, La. - 7 p.m.
Auburn at Arkansas (10-10, 7-3 SEC)
Sunday, Oct. 31 - Fayetteville, Ark. - 1:30 p.m.
The Auburn volleyball team is in its 19th year of existence after the school reinstated the program in 1986 following a six-year hiatus ... Auburn is 301-287 (.512) since the reinstatement ... Laura Farina is in her third season at the helm of the Tigers, owning an 19-55 (.257) record ... Auburn has already surpassed its SEC win total of the last three years combined and equaled its win total from 2000 ... AU has won three SEC road matches for the first time since 1999 ... Last season the Tigers experienced a nine-win turnaround from the prior year ... AU has four freshmen and a redshirt junior added to the mix this season.
Who's on the Schedule This Week
The Tigers close out their SEC road schedule and four-match road swing with matches at LSU and Arkansas. The Tigers face LSU on Friday night at 7 p.m. CT in Baton Rouge before chartering to Fayetteville for a 1:30 p.m. CT match on Halloween.
Tigers on Radio
Ben Taylor will provide all the action over the airways as all the Auburn volleyball home and away matches will be carried live on radio for the remainder of the season. Friday's tilt with Ole Miss and Sunday's match with Mississippi State will both be carried live on WANI 1400 in the Auburn-Opelika area as well as through the Auburn website, www.auburntigers.com.
Auburn took home a pair of wins on the first half of their four-match road swing, recovering from a 2-0 deficit to down Ole Miss, 3-2, on Friday night before knocking off Mississippi State in three on Sunday.
Freshman Whitney Jacob was the main offensive cog for the Tigers during their trip to the Magnolia State, having a career match at Ole Miss. Against the Lady Rebels, Jacob put down 19 kills, blocked eight attacks and served up the first two aces of her career - all career bests. For the weekend, Jacob averaged 3.38 KPG with a .480 hitting percentage (27-3-50) to go along with a 1.38 blocks per game mark and a total of five service aces.
Defensively, sophomore Julie Bosler made an immediate impact on her return to the court. In eight games, Bosler blocked a total of seven attacks and had 10 kills.
Junior captain Bailey Veit also had a nice debut - even though she has played in every match this season. For the weekend, Veit moved from the starting middle blocker to the starting libero, and for her efforts was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week as she dug a career-high-tying 20 Ole Miss attacks and another 11 Mississippi State attacks, giving her a 3.88 DPG mark.
The Tigers had nine of 10 bodies available last weekend and are now just waiting on the return of Rachel Shanks from a lower leg injury, which is expected to happen in the near future.
Scouting the Fighting Tigers
LSU defeated Kentucky in four games last week. In the match, Beth Cowley posted a career-best 65 assists, the second 60-plus assist match for the Tigers this season.
Jelena Mijatovic recorded career bests with a match-best 26 kills and 21 digs. In addition, she recorded a match-best four service aces, and continues to lead the SEC in service aces per game.
With a match-best 25 digs, Rachel Pittman tied for the sixth most digs in a four-game match in LSU history with her second 25-plus dig match of the season.
AU and LSU
The match with LSU will be the second of the season for the Tigers as LSU came to the Plains and downed Auburn, 3-1, on Sunday, Oct. 10. Jelena Sekulic put down a team-best 14 kills but it was not enough to carry the Tigers. The Bayou Bengals won 30-22, 28-30, 31-29, 30-27. Joining Sekulic in double-figure kills was Ashlee Johns (13), Whitney Jacob (12) and Bailey Veit (10). Veit also led the Tigers in blocking with five while Jennifer Buckert had a team-best eight digs. Maira Mogollon hoisted 51 assists for the Tigers.
LSU now leads the series with Auburn, 20-11, since 1986 with AU's last win coming in 2000 in Baton Rouge. AU is 4-11 all-time in Baton Rouge and have lost their last three matches in the Peter Maravich Center.
Last season Auburn was leading LSU 2-0 in Baton Rouge before suffering a 3-2 defeat.
The University of Arkansas got back in the win column with a pair of victories this past weekend downing Kentucky and Valparaiso, both in five.
Sophomore Kele Brewer paced Arkansas' offense hitting .315, averaging 3.90 kpg and recording 39 kills for the Lady'Backs in two matches.
Senior Jennifer Haaser was the team's defensive leader recording 18 blocks in two matches. Haaser also tallied a triple double against Valparaiso Sunday with 16 kills, 12 digs and 11 blocks for the Lady'Backs.
AU and the Lady'Backs
Arkansas has dominated the series with Auburn, owning a 21-1 advantage since 1986, including a thrilling 3-2 on the Plains in the Southeastern Conference home opener for the Tigers. After splitting the first four games, Arkansas used four blocks over the final five points to win game five, 15-10.
Ashlee Johns led the Tigers offensively, knocking down a career-best 30 kills to go along with 11 digs and five blocks. Jelena Sekulic also knocked down a career-high in kills for the Tigers, putting down 17. Bailey Veit had a team-best 14 digs.
When the match is played in Fayetteville, the Tigers are a combined 1-9 with their only win coming in 1996. AU has lost seven straight in Fayetteville and 15 overall in the series.
The Lady'Backs have thoroughly dominated the series with Auburn, winning nine of the last 12 matches by a 3-0 count. When the Tigers took the match the distance earlier this year, it was just the sixth time the two squads have gone five games, with Auburn owning a 1-5 record in those matches.
Veit Named SEC DPOW
Auburn's Bailey Veit was named the SEC's Defensive Player of the Week for the week ending Oct. 25. Veit, who had been the starting middle blocker for the Tigers up until the Ole Miss match, played as the libero in both the Ole Miss and Mississippi State away matches and made a very smooth transition. In the match at Ole Miss she collected a career-best-tying 20 digs as the Tigers rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2. Against Mississippi State she went for a team-best 11 digs, giving her 31 in eight games for a 3.88 digs per game mark.
Junior captain Bailey Veit entered the Auburn record books during the second game of the Ole Miss match as she dug her 500th ball. With the dig, she earned her way onto the career digs per game charts where she sits eighth with a 2.22 mark.
Sweeping the Magnolia State
Auburn is in need of a strong second-half to the SEC season in order to make the SEC Tournament (only the top eight teams make it). The Tigers got off on the right foot with a sweep of Ole Miss and Mississippi State last weekend, downing the Lady Rebels, 3-2, with a come-from-behind victory, and defeating the Bulldogs, 3-0
The Tigers have swept their trip through the state of Mississippi six times since 1986 (1988, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2004).
AU's sweep in the the Magnolia State has brought an SEC Tournament bid with it the previous five times.
Six in a Row
Auburn rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Ole Miss, 3-2, before handing Mississippi State a 3-0 defeat, running the Tigers streak of consecutive SEC game wins to six. The last time AU had won six straight SEC games was in 1998 when the Tigers ran off 10 straight SEC games wins (game 1 on Oct. 25 vs. Tennessee through game 1 on Nov. 5 at Alabama).
Auburn is in search of its first three-match winning streak in the conference since the 1998 season when the Tigers defeated Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Alabama at home and Then Alabama on the road for a five-match winning streak.
Auburn's longest winning streak in the conference is eight straight, set in 1996 when the Tigers were Co-SEC West Champions.
AU Against the West
Auburn holds an all-time record of 69-77 (.472) against teams from the SEC West. The Tigers own winning records against Alabama (18-13), Ole Miss (17-14) and Mississippi State (22-9).
Staying in the Race
Just past the halfway point through the SEC season the Tigers are still fighting for their first SEC Tournament bid since 1999, when AU lost to Tennessee, 3-1, in the first round.
The Tigers are 4-14 in the SEC Tournament since the reinstatement in 1986, and their current four-year drought of making the tournament is the longest in the program history.
Auburn found itself down to game and match point in the third game of the match at Ole Miss on Friday, Oct. 22, only to rally and win in five games. The last time Auburn rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win was on Sept. 4, 1999, against George Mason when the Tigers fell behind after game scores of 12-15 and 8-15 only to rally and win games three, four and five by scores of 15-7, 15-11, 15-8.
The last time AU accomplished such a big comeback in SEC play was on Nov. 16, 1997, when AU won at Mississippi State (9-1, 3-15, 17-15, 15-8, 15-13).
Auburn has only rallied to win after losing the first two games of SEC play a total of five times. The other three times were on Oct. 26, 1997 against Ole Miss, Nov. 1, 1996 at Arkansas (the only time AU has defeated Arkansas) and Oct. 20, 1991 at South Carolina, making it four of the five times on the road.
Johns Goes Big
Ashlee Johns recorded one of the biggest nights in Auburn volleyball history in the Tigers' match with Arkansas. Against the Lady'Backs, Johns pounded out a career-high 30 kills, which was just three shy of tying the Auburn record of 33 set by Brooke McCarley against Kentucky on Nov. 5, 1997.
Over the last two seasons, there have been just six 30-plus kill matches in the SEC.
There was a very welcome site on the Auburn practice court on Wednesday, Oct. 13, as there was not one walking boot to be seen attached to an athlete's leg. Over the first half of the season, Julie Bosler (16 matches), Rachel Shanks (9 matches) and Jennifer Amobi (3 matches) have all spent time in a walking cast. However, it looks like the healing process is going along well and the three may see action on the court together in the near future.
Searching for the First Home SEC Win
The Tigers are still in search of their first home SEC win of the season.
The last SEC home win for Auburn came on Oct. 26, 2003, when AU knocked off Mississippi State, 3-2 (30-15, 23-30, 30-26, 26-30, 15-10).
Three On the Road
After suffering 25 consecutive losses on the road in SEC play, the Tigers have already racked up three conference wins this season. The last time AU had won three away from the Student Act in SEC play was in 1999 when the Tigers also captured three. The record for most away SEC wins is six in 1996.
Another Case of the Sunday's
The Auburn volleyball team has not found much success in Sunday matches over the past two-plus years. In two-plus seasons, AU has won just three Sunday matches - on Oct. 26, 2003 at home vs. Mississippi State (3-2), on Sept. 26, 2004 at Kentucky (3-1) and on Oct. 24, 2004 again at Mississippi State (3-0) - against 16 losses for a .158 winning percentage.
AU in the SEC
Auburn has been a volleyball member of the SEC since 1987. Over the course of those 17 years, AU has gone 90-141 (.390) with just five seasons of better than .500 volleyball ('92, '96, '97, '98, '99).
Since the 2000 season, AU is just 7-65 (.097).
Entering the Record Books
With one full season under her belt, Ashlee Johns has inched her way towards the Auburn record books. After 41 matches as an Auburn Tiger, Johns has cracked the career attack percentage list, checking in at ninth with a .229 mark (577-246-1447).
The last Tiger to enter the top-10 was Grace Boyd, who collected a .239 attack percentage (380-136-1021) over her two-year stay on the Plains in 2001 and 2002.
Johns is also in the books in the Career Kills Per Game category, checking in at fourth with a 3.82 mark (577 K, 151 GP)
Veit at the Net
Junior Captain Bailey Veit has found her way into the Auburn career record books. In the match against UAB, Veit's block in the fourth game on a Shaniquwa Cooper attack gave her 38 solo blocks for her career, moving her into 10th-place on the AU list. She has since past Allyson Beecroft and Gretchen Thompson for eighth on the list at 42.
Veit's 0.91 BPG average is also in the books, ranking fifth, just behind Gina Thomas (0.98) and Tory Gutierrez (1.03).
Over the course of the first 10 matches, freshman Whitney Jacob had five matches where she committed two or fewer errors. In those five matches (East Tennessee State, Mercer, Oregon State, UAB & Kentucky ), Jacob hit at a .457 clip (57-9-105) with a 2.85 KPG mark. Auburn was 4-1 in those matches.
AU Snaps SEC Losing Streak
After suffering 25 consecutive losses on the road in SEC play, the Tigers claimed a 3-1 victory over Kentucky on Sunday, Sept. 26 in Lexington. The last AU road conference win was on Nov. 5, 2000 at LSU.
All Auburn, All Orange, All Win
The Tigers have worn their orange tops in three matches this season, two of which have been wins. The Tigers debuted their orange digs at Mercer and won 3-2 and then donned the jerseys again at Kentucky, a 3-1 AU triumph. AU then lost to Georgia in their Orange digs, 3-0.
The All Auburn, All Orange campaign is being used by all Auburn athletic teams this season. At the Auburn-LSU football game, the crowd of 87,451 was mostly decked out in orange to see the Tigers win 10-9. The AU soccer team had their All Auburn, All Orange night on Oct. 22 against Tennessee and were victorious, 2-1, over the #8-ranked Lady Voles.
The volleyball crowd's turn will come on Nov. 5 against Mississippi State.
Jekyll and Hyde
The Tigers played a little Jekyl and Hyde volleyball in their match with UAB. In the three games that the Tigers won, they hit a collective .321 (39-13-81) while in the two games they lost, they hit .088 (23-17-88).
For the season, when the Tigers are victorious in the game, they are knocking balls down at a .270 clip (468-166-1120) while in games they lose, they attack at a .177 mark (479-258-1249).
AU Wins Season Opener
Auburn won its season-opener for the first time since 2000 when the Tigers knocked off East Tennessee State, 3-0. The win was also the first season-opening victory in the six-year head coaching career of Laura Farina.
Bailey Veit and Rachel Shanks were both named to the Mizuno/Auburn Challenge All-Tournament team this past week. It marked the second straight season that Veit was named to the Auburn Challenge all-tournament squad.
Veit followed that up by being named to the Salbasgeon Suites Invitational All-Tournament team the following weekend. That gives Veit three all-tournament selections all-time.
The Tigers started the season with four newcomers and two returnees on the floor. Ashlee Johns and Bailey Veit both returned to the court for AU and were joined by three freshmen (Jordan Elliott, Whitney Jacob and Rachel Shanks) and a junior transfer (Jennifer Amobi).
Senior Jennifer Buckert really responded to her role as the libero while the Tigers worked their way through injuries. In the team's match with Iowa State, Buckert dug a career-best 19 ISU attacks, which she matched in the win over Kentucky, while also serving up an ace. The 19 digs was more than she had total as both a freshman and a sophomore. Buckert was averaging 2.63 DPG with 155 digs while playing the libero but has since dropped to a 2.54 mark since playing the role of defensive specialist.
Freshman Jordan Elliott was quick to grasp her role as team leader and setter during the Mizuno/Auburn Challenge. In the match with Iowa State, Elliott set the table for 64 AU kills (12.80 APG) and averaged 12.55 APG for the weekend.
She followed that up by posting a career-best 76 assists in a five-game match with Mercer.
In the matches that Elliott has started in the setting position, she averaged 12.34 APG.
During the match with UAB, five of the six servers (Jelena Sekulia, Rachel Shanks, Jordan Elliott, Bailey Veit, Ashlee Johns) recorded two aces while the sixth, Jennifer Buckert, recorded one for a total of 11.
For the third straight season, Laura Farina will have the same assistants on her staff. Joining her for their seventh season together is Matt Darling. Farina and Darling spent the 1995 and 1996 seasons together at Michigan State, 1999-2001 at Marquette and the last two at Auburn. Steve Aird also begins his third year on the Plains after a stellar playing career at Penn State.