Dec. 15, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. - The 2010 volleyball season proved to be a special one for the Auburn Tigers as the squad reached new heights for the program. The team put together one of the best seasons in program history and did something no other Tiger team has done when they made the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
"We made some great steps this season, more steps than anyone else has made in the history of Auburn volleyball," head coach Wade Benson said. "This season set a solid foundation for us to build off of. This team made huge strides as a program and have paved the way for the future of Auburn volleyball. I'm very proud of this team and all they have accomplished."
The Tigers concluded the season with a 21-13 overall mark and were 11-9 in the Southeastern Conference. The 21 wins are the most for Auburn since the 1998 season and the 11 SEC victories are the most since 1996.
FIRST-EVER NCAA BERTH
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 on Nov. 28. The selection marked the first time in the program's history that Auburn has reached the NCAA tournament.
The Tigers traveled to Lincoln, Neb., for the first and second rounds of the tournament, Dec. 2-3. The squad opened up with a first-round match against Missouri State and came away with a three-set sweep over the Bears. Auburn concluded the season with a three-set loss to No. 2 Nebraska in the second round.
"We were thrilled to be given the opportunity to compete in the postseason," Benson said. "It was tough to go out in a three-set match, but it was a big season for us regardless of how we finished."
BIG WINS AND TOUGH COMPETITION
The Tigers faced six nationally ranked opponents this season, including four from the SEC. The team earned the program's first-ever win over a ranked opponent on Sept. 24 as the squad defeated the then-No. 24 Kentucky Wildcats in five sets.
The team squared off with 10 teams selected to the 2010 NCAA Tournament during the season. Auburn defeated the Southern Conference champion Georgia Southern in three sets on Aug. 28 and also picked up a five-set win over Sun Belt champion Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro.
On Nov. 7 in Auburn, the Tigers took top-ranked Florida to the limit and had the Gators on their toes the entire match. Florida took the first set, but Auburn responded with winning sets one and two. The Gators, however, survived the upset and won 3-2.
CROUCH SET A PAIR OF AUBURN RECORDS
Senior libero Liz Crouch put her name in the Auburn record book on Oct. 8 as the New Orleans product surpassed former Tiger Gretchen Thompson to break the Auburn career digs mark. Crouch concluded the season with 469 digs, setting the Auburn single season record. She finished her career with 1,703 total digs.
Senior Morgan Johns, sophomore Sarah Bullock and freshman Camila Jersonsky were Auburn's top offensive performers during the season. Bullock led the squad with 354 total kills and averaged 3.03 kills per set. She was second on the team with 306 digs and a 2.62 digs-per-set average, while also being second with 21 service aces. Bullock tallied a team-best 10 double-doubles and finished with 19 double-digit kill performances, including a 20-kill performance against Florida (Nov. 7).
Johns was second overall in a trio of categories for the Tigers. She finished with 325 kills and had a .305 attack percentage, averaging 2.75 kills per match. Johns had 14 double-digit kill matches for Auburn, including a career-best 24 kills at Alabama (Nov. 19). She was named to the 2010 All-SEC Second Team for her efforts this season.
Jersonsky led the Tigers with a .354 attack percentage and finished with 157 kills on the season. Defensively, she was second on the squad with 72 total blocks (9 solo, 63 assists) and averaged 0.70 blocks per set. Her nine-block performance against Missouri State (Dec. 2) tied the Auburn three-set record. Jersonsky earned a spot on the All-SEC Freshman Team for her contributions.
On Nov. 14, the Tigers recognized Liz Crouch, Alyssa Davis, Morgan Johns, Lauren Mellor and Jonelle Wallace prior to the match. The group came a long way since their first season at Auburn and were huge contributors in building the strong foundations for future teams' successes.
"These seniors have worked very hard and have been through a lot of adversity," Benson said. "They came to Auburn wanting to better the program and that is what they have done. They are foundation builders and are going to leave this program ten times better from when they came in.
The five led the Tigers to their first winning season since 1999 last season and have also built the team from a No. 232 RPI in 2008 to a No. 44 ranking this season.