Auburn Volleyball Match Notes - 2010 NCAA Tournament

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM Senior Liz Crouch
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
Senior Liz Crouch
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Dec. 2, 2010

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LINCOLN, Neb. - The Auburn volleyball team added another milestone to its already successful season as the squad was selected to be one of 64 teams in the 2010 NCAA Volleyball Tournament. The selection marks the first time in the program's history that Auburn has reached the NCAA tournament.

The Tigers are set to face Missouri State (21-9) in the first round in Lincoln, Neb., Thursday at 4:30 p.m. from the NU Coliseum. The other two teams in the sub-regional are host No. 2 Nebraska (27-2) and Sacred Heart (29-6). The two winners will advance to the second round on Friday at 7 p.m.

"We are absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity," head coach Wade Benson said. "This is history in the making for the Auburn volleyball program and we are ecstatic to be laying down the foundations for the future."

Auburn concluded the regular season with a 20-12 overall record and finished SEC competition at 11-9. The Tigers' 20 wins is the first time since 1998 that Auburn has reached the 20-win mark and their 11 SEC victories was the most since 1996. The Tigers were ranked No. 44 in the latest RPI standings.

The winner of the sub-regional will advance to Seattle, Wash., for the third and fourth rounds December 10-11.

Live stats and free video streaming are available and can be found at Huskers.com. Also, get in-match updates by following AUVolleyball on Twitter.

RPI RANKINGS
Auburn enters the week as the No. 44 team in the latest RPI rankings report. The Tigers are the fifth highest ranked team in the Southeastern Conference as Florida (No. 1), Tennessee (No. 14), LSU (No. 16) and Ole Miss (No. 43) rank higher. Kentucky stands at No. 45 in the RPI ranking.

The Tigers were ranked No. 27 in the nation in the first RPI report which was released on Oct. 4. Auburn concluded the 2009 season at No. 81 in the country, jumping 54 spots this year at the start of the poll.

SCOUTING MISSOURI STATE
The Missouri State Bears stand at 21-9 overall entering the NCAA first round. The team finished fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 12-6 mark. MSU's appearance in the 2010 NCAA Tournament is the 10th in program history. The Bears are 1-8 all-time in the tournament and have appeared in the tourney six of the last eight years.

Christine McCartney leads the squad with 320 total kills and a 3.37 kills-per-set average, while Kelley Michnowicz has a team-best .375 attack percentage. Setter Carly Thomas averages 7.79 assists per set and Calli Norman leads MSU's blocking as she has 106 total blocks on the year and average 0.94 blocks per set. McCartney was named MVC Freshman of the Year and Thomas made the All-Freshman Team. Michnowicz and Norman were each named to the MVC First Team.

Thursday's match marks the first meeting between the two squads. Auburn holds a 6-4 series record against teams from the Missouri Valley Conference.