November 12, 2004
AUBURN, Ala. – The Auburn volleyball team secured its first Southeastern Conference Tournament berth since the 1999 season on Friday night as the Tigers battled to a 3-1 victory over Kentucky at the Student Activities Center.
Ashlee Johns knocked down 14 kills in her final home match as a Tiger while Jennifer Amobi, starting for the first time since Oct. 29, added 13 kills.
“This is a great, great win for us,” AU Coach Laura Farina said. “This is the reward for all of the hard work we have put in all season. I am really happy for the team.”
Auburn spotted the Wildcats sizeable leads in every game but the final one before rallying to win all but the second game by a count of 31-29, 23-30, 30-28, 35-33. The 35 points in the fourth and deciding game was the most Auburn has ever scored in a single game.
Game one saw the Tigers rally from an early 7-3 deficit before taking the lead at 12-11. AU would stretch its lead to as much as five at 26-21 before the Wildcats roared back to knot the match at 29-29. A kill by Whitney Jacob then put the Tigers up one at 30-29 and then Jacob and Maira Mogollon combined to put the Tigers up a game with a block of a Sarah Spinner attack.
Game two was all Kentucky as UK built a 12-9 lead before going on to win, 30-23. Auburn did rally to take the lead in the game, 17-14, but UK scored seven of the next nine points to take a 21-19 lead, which they would never relinquish.
Game three again saw UK build a lead, this one seemingly insurmountable at 20-14 before Auburn clawed back into it. Down by six, 24-18, Auburn scored seven of the next eight points to square the game at 25-25 before a Spinner attack error gave the game to the Tigers, 30-28.
The final frame was one for the ages as the two teams battled through 21 ties and 12 lead changes. Kentucky held the biggest lead of the game at 20-16 only to see Auburn knot it at 20-20. Auburn would hold two point leads on three separate occasions, the last coming at 29-27, only to see the Cats tie it up each time. UK then took the lead at 30-29 on an Alex Montefalco ace, but a Johns kill and ace would give Auburn the lead at 31-30.
The Tigers would hold one point leads at 32-31 and 33-32 only to see UK battle to tie it each time. With the game at 33-33, Amobi put down her 13th kill of the night and the Tigers won it when Danielle Wallace’s attack went wide for the Wildcats.
Auburn now awaits the outcome of the South Carolina-Georgia match on Sunday to see what seed it will be in the tournament. AU finished the regular season 11-13, 6-10 SEC and currently holds the tournament’s eighth seed while South Carolina, with their loss to Florida on Friday night, is 5-10 in the conference. Should USC fall to the Bulldogs on Sunday, AU will be the seventh seed.
Kentucky (12-15, 3-12 SEC) 29 30 28 33
Auburn (11-13, 6-10 SEC) 31 23 30 35