AU Volleyball closes out Blue Raider Bash with 3-0 win

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Auburn volleyball team ended the 2010 Blue Raider Bash with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 26-24) victory over Southern Miss Sunday afternoon on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University. The Tigers leave Murfreesboro with a 5-2 overall mark, while the Golden Eagles fell to 4-3 on the season.

"It was a very mature victory against a good and scrappy Southern Miss team," head coach Wade Benson said. "To come off a big, emotional win against Middle Tennessee State last night and then beat a team like Southern Miss, who hadn't been swept all weekend, shows that we are gaining maturity."

Junior Kelly Fidero finished with a match-best nine kills, while four other Tigers finished with seven kills apiece in Alyssa Davis, Katherine Culwell, Morgan Johns and Camila Jersonsky. Fidero and senior Lauren Mellor had a team-best three blocks.

Sophomore Sarah Bullock had a match-best 13 digs and finished with five kills, while libero Liz Crouch had 10 digs for Auburn. Setters Christina Solverson and Chelsea Wintzinger each recorded 22 assists on the day.

Three athletes from Southern Miss had seven kills in Halie Ecker, Lauren Sears and Ashley Mell. Libero Lisa Knecht had seven digs, while setter Kelsea Seymour tallied 26 assists.

With the first set tied at four apiece, a kill by Fidero ignited a nine-point Auburn run to give the Tigers the 13-4 lead. A late Auburn rally, highlighted by a pair of kills from Culwell, gave the Tigers their largest lead at 23-11. The Golden Eagles scored six-straight points to come within six, but Auburn pulled away with a 25-19 win.

Auburn opened the second set on a 7-1 run, triggered by a kill from Bullock. A kill from Johns started another Tiger rally to push the score to 21-13 in favor of Auburn. Southern Miss picked at the Auburn lead throughout the middle part of the set and tied the set at 18. A kill by Culwell, however, lifted the Tigers to a 7-2 run to take a 25-20 win.

Kills from Culwell and Johns led to a 4-0 Auburn lead at the start of set three. Back-to-back kills by Fidero put the Tigers up at 11-5 and a pair of Southern Miss attack errors gave Auburn a 16-12 advantage. The Golden Eagles fought back, however, and utilized a 6-1 run to take their first lead at 17-16. The two squads battled to the very end until, down 24-23, a trio of kills by freshman Kathia Rud gave the Tigers the 26-24 set three victory.

Auburn continues its road swing as the Tigers travel to Troy on Sept. 7 for a 7 p.m. match. The Tigers opened the 2010 season with a three-set win over the Trojans at the War Eagle Invitational in Auburn, Aug. 27.

INFORMATION SOURCE: Auburn University Athletics