Auburn Volleyball vs Tennessee at the SEC Tournament Preview
#7 Auburn (11-13, 6-10 SEC) vs. #2 Tennessee (26-2, 15-1 SEC)
2004 SEC Tournament
Friday, Nov. 19 - Gainesville, Fla. - 11 a.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 304-290 (.512) since the reinstatement ... Laura Farina is in her third season at the helm of the Tigers, owning an 22-58 (.275) record ... Auburn's five conference wins surpassed its SEC win total of the last three years combined ... AU won three SEC road matches for the first time since 1999 ... The Tigers clinched their first SEC Tournament berth since 1999 with a 3-1 win over Kentucky on Friday night, Nov. 12 ... 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
For the first time since the 1999 season the Tigers are headed to the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Auburn earned the tournament's seventh seed with a 6-10 conference showing and will face second seeded Tennessee in the first round of the tournament.
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 morning's match with Tennessee will both be carried live on WANI 1400 in the Auburn-Opelika area as well as through the Auburn website, www.auburntigers.com.
Auburn secured its first SEC Tournament berth since the 1999 season when the Tigers knocked off Kentucky, 3-1, on Friday night in the Student Act. Auburn is 4-14 all-time in the SEC Tournament, with its last win coming in 1995 against Georgia. Against Tennessee, which is Auburn's first opponent in the tournament, Auburn is 1-1, having beaten the Lady Vols, 3-0, in 1994 and losing, 3-1, in 1999. AU is 1-2 all-time in the Tournament when they are the seventh seed, with their one win coming over Tennessee in 1994. Ashlee Johns is 31 kills shy of 1,000 for her career.
Scouting the Tournament
#1 - Florida is the top seed in the tournament for the 12th straight season and will be looking for its 12th tournament title in the last 14 seasons.
#2 - Tennessee, which Auburn will play in the first round, earned a share of its first SEC regular-season championships in school history.
#3 - Arkansas claimed a share of its 10th SEC Western Division title.
#4 - Alabama claimed a share of the SEC Western Division crown for just the second time in school history.
#5 - Georgia is back in the tournament as the fifth seed and is looking for its first championship since 1985.
#6 - LSU swept its final SEC weekend series, defeating Arkansas and Ole Miss on the road, marking just the third time in school history the Tigers defeated the Lady'Backs and only the second time in Fayetteville.
#8 - South Carolina is making its 14th consecutive SEC Tournament.
AU and Tennessee
The Tigers and Lady Vols have met a total of 21 times since 1986, and the Lady Vols own a slight 12-9 advantage in the series after winning seven straight over AU.
Auburn's last win in the series came in 1998 in a home match, which at the time was the sixth-straight win for the Tigers in the series.
Over the past four seasons, AU and UT have met just five times, three of which came in Knoxville.
The Last Time They Met...
Auburn snapped Tennessee's 25-game Southeastern Conference winning streak but could do little else as the Tigers fell to the 17th-ranked Lady Vols, 3-1, on Friday night, Oct. 15, at the Student Act. Game scores were 27-30, 30-19, 30-21, 30-16 in favor of UT.
Ashlee Johns led the Tigers, connecting on 14 attempts to lead a trio of Tigers in double figures. Jelena Sekulic put down 13 kills to go along with 10 digs while Whitney Jacob added 10 kills. Jennifer Buckert had a team-best 16 digs while Bailey Veit had nine digs and seven blocks.
Tigers Clinch SEC Berth
With a win over Kentucky on Friday, Auburn clinched its first SEC Tournament berth since the 1999 season.
The Tigers then grabbed hold of the tournament's seventh seed with South Carolina fell to both Florida and Georgia on the road.
Auburn in the SEC Tournament
Auburn has made the SEC Tournament a total of 14 times and are 4-14 all-time at the tournament.
AU's last tournament win came in 1998 when the Tigers knocked off Georgia in five games.
Auburn has been the seventh seed four times (1987, 1989, 1994 and 1995) and are 2-4 in that slot. AU knocked off 11th-seeded Tennessee, 3-0, in the first round in 1994 before falling to top-seeded Florida, 3-0, in the second round. Their other win was in 1995 when the Tigers held off second-seeded Georgia in four before falling to third-seeded Arkansas in five.
When the tournament is held in Gainesville (1986, 1994, 2000) the Tigers are 1-2, having lost to top-seeded LSU, 3-1, in the first round in 1986 as the eighth seed but beating 11th-seeded Tennessee, 3-0, in the first round in 1994 as the seventh seed before losing to top-seeded Florida in the second round, 3-0. AU did not qualify for the tournament in 2000.
Against UT in the tournament, AU is a collective 1-1, downing UT in 1994 but falling in 1999.
Back-to-Back Home Wins
Auburn's back-to-back home wins over Mississippi State and Ole Miss marked the first time since the 1999 season that the Tigers have enjoyed a two-match SEC winning streak in the Student Act. That year it was also MSU and UM that AU knocked off in consecutive matches.
In the match with Ole Miss, five different Tigers recorded double-figures in kills. Led by Ashlee Johns' 19, the five combined for 67 of the team's 71 total kills (Julie Bosler 14, Whitney Jacob 13, Rachel Shanks 11, Jelena Sekulic 10). That was the second time this year that five Tigers have gone big, the other time coming in the match at Mercer when it was Johns (19), Shanks (16), Amobi (15), Jacob (15) and Veit (13) going for 78 of Auburn's 81 kills in the five-game match.
Doing the Double
Ashlee Johns has had a monster of a year for the Tigers, recording a team-best 335 kills to date. At her current pace of 13.96 kills per match, she would finish the regular season with 377 kills (which includes one SEC Tournament game) which would be the highest single-season total for the Tigers since Brooke McCarley went for 487 kills in 1999.
Johns has hit the double-figure kill mark in all but five of the 24 matches this season thus far.
Sweeping the Magnolia State
The Tigers completed a four-match sweep of the Magnolia State schools with a 3-2 win over Mississippi State on Friday and a 3-1 victory over Ole Miss on Sunday.
In total, AU has had a home sweep of the two Mississippi schools a total of eight times (1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2004).
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 Magnolia State has brought an SEC Tournament bid with it the previous five times while an AU sweep at home has also brought a tournament berth along with it.
The Tigers have had a four-match sweep of the Mississippi's four times. (1993, 1997, 1998, 2004), all of which brought an SEC Tournament berth along with it..
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 seventh with a 2.31 mark.
Two for the Books
Sophomore Julie Bosler secured the two blocks she needed in order to make her first appearance in the Auburn record books during the home win over Mississippi State. With her second block against MSU, Bosler met the minimum 100-block requirement to be included in the blocks per game list.
She currently sits fourth at 1.02 BPG, just behind Tory Gutierrez (1.03 BPG), who played from 1989-1992 and finished with 475 total blocks, the fourth-best mark in school history.
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). AU's game one loss at LSU ended the streak at six.
AU Against the West
Auburn holds an all-time record of 71-80 (.470) against teams from the SEC West. The Tigers own winning records against Alabama (18-14), Ole Miss (18-14) and Mississippi State (23-9).
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 (9-15, 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 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.
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. All three saw action in the match at LSU, marking the first time all season the Tigers had all 10 players on the roster available.
Securing the First Home SEC Win
The Tigers secured their first home SEC win on Friday, Nov. 5, when the Tigers knocked off Mississippi State, 3-2.
Auburn's last home win came on Oct. 26, 2003, when AU knocked off the same Lady Bulldogs,, 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 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 four Sunday matches - on Oct. 26, 2003 at home vs. Mississippi State (3-2), on Sept. 26, 2004 at Kentucky (3-1), on Oct. 24, 2004 again at Mississippi State (3-0) and on Nov. 7, 2004 against Mississippi State - against 17 losses for a .190 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 93-144 (.392) with just five seasons of better than .500 volleyball ('92, '96, '97, '98, '99).
Since the 2000 season, AU is 10-68 (.128).
Entering the Record Books
With one full season under her belt, Ashlee Johns has inched her way towards the Auburn record books. After 46 matches as an Auburn Tiger, Johns has cracked the career attack percentage list, checking in at ninth with a .226 mark (663-284-1680).
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 3.83 mark (663 K, 173 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 0.84 BPG average is also in the books, ranking eighth, just behind La'Toi Finley (0.88).
Before Veit had moved to the libero position, she had posted a career 0.95 BPG mark.
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.
Jekyl 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 match, they are knocking balls down at a .253 clip (669-251-1651) while in matches they lose, they attack at a .179 mark (597-315-1578).
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 2.37 mark since playing the role of defensive specialist/rightside.
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.