AUBURN, Alabama – Making a statement in their last non-conference game of the regular season, Auburn volleyball (8-1) swept away Belmont (2-8) in a dominant fashion (25-8, 25-12, 23-12) on Saturday at the Auburn Arena to close the Auburn Invitational.
“We have three hitters who can finish,” said head coach Crouching brent. “We run a kind of slower ball in the middle and faster towards the pins. It’s a little unusual, but it allows us to distribute the ball evenly across the front line. If you have three hitters in each zone, that is fine. is going to be difficult for opposing teams to hit anyone. “
Junior Rebecca Rath punctuated the Tigers offensively with 14 kills while attacking at a .429 clip. Rath added an ace to the service line, a pair of digs and three blocks. Graduate student Liz reich had 11 kills on an attack percentage of 0.409. She recorded an assist, a recovery and a pair of blocks.
Serving as a starting ferry for the Tigers, second year Jackie Barrett distributed 24 assists and led the team to an attacking percentage of 0.345 in the game. Barrett added a kill and an ace. She also totaled 19 recoveries to record her third consecutive double-double.
On the service line, Auburn totaled six aces and five different Tigers landed an ace. Senior Bella rosenthall led the team with two aces. She also tied Barrett for the team lead in digs with 19. Rosenthall has now totaled at least 10 digs in nine straight games.
At net, the Tigers totaled 10.5 blocks with the seniors Tatum shipes rhythm the team with a total of 7.0. Shipes also added four kills on 10 swings. Barrett added three blocks for Auburn.
Defensively, the Tigers wanted to belmont has a winning percentage of -.093 in the game. It was the first time the Tigers have held an opponent at a negative hitting percentage since Jacksonville State on September 20, 2014.
The Tigers erupted early with a 3-0 run with the help of wins from Rath and Reich. Auburn continued to strengthen their lead to 9-2 with a first-year service ace Kate curtis and a pair of Tiger blocks to force a Belmont timeout. Attacking errors plagued the Bruins in the later stages and the Tigers extended their lead to 19-6. Auburn closed the set with a back-to-back victory for Rath and Barrett for a resounding 25-8 victory.
Belmont quickly took a 4-1 lead, forcing the Tigers to play from behind. Auburn responded with a 6-0 run highlighted by two Reich wins to take a 7-4 lead. Offensively, the Tigers led the set with a score of 0.462 with 13 kills while adding four aces from the service line to pull themselves up to a 25-12 victory.
The two teams exchanged points equally in the early stages of the final set. With the score 7 overall, Auburn used a pair of kills to find some breathing space. It wasn’t until Curtis took over at the service line that Auburn went on a 5-0 streak with decisive attacks from Rath and Shipes and a big Tiger block to open the set, 20-10. Barrett and senior Elif Su Yavuz put the exclamation mark on the match with a block to claim the 25-12 victory.
Auburn is set to start the Southeastern Conference game on Wednesday, welcoming undefeated Ole Miss to Auburn Arena. The first service on ESPNU is set for 8 p.m. CT.