AU v'ball earns three-set sweep over Georgia

AUBURN, Ala.  – The Auburn volleyball team hosted Georgia Wednesday night and came away with the three-set sweep, 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-22), at the Student Activities Center. The Tigers now sit at 14-5 on the season, its best record to date since 1998, and are 5-2 in the SEC. The win also ends an Auburn seven-match losing streak to the Bulldogs.

"A very exciting win for the team and it is always a thrill to have a three-set sweep at home in the SEC," head coach Wade Benson said.

"The team still has a lot to do with this season and we're looking forward to constant improvement as the season goes on."

Senior Morgan Johns and sophomore Sarah Bullock finished with 13 and 12 kills, respectively, leading the Tigers. Freshman Camila Jersonsky had nine kills on the evening and finished with a .571 attack percentage. She also added two blocks for Auburn.

Senior libero Liz Crouch had a match-high 13 digs, while classmate Lauren Mellor had a match-high five blocks. Junior setter Christina Solverson had 24 assists for Auburn and junior Kelly Fidero contributed four kills and four digs in the win.

Georgia (10-8, 2-5 SEC) was led by Valentina Gonzalez, who had 12 kills and three blocks for the Bulldogs. Setter Kathleen Gates finished with 35 assists and libero Carla Tietz tallied 10 digs.

The Bulldogs took a quick 3-1 advantage to start the first set, but the Tigers tied the score at four a piece on a kill by Johns. Auburn pushed a three-point run to go up 11-8, but Georgia battled back with a five-point rally to take a 14-12 lead. Down 21-19, Auburn fought and used a 7-1 run, highlighted by a trio of kills from Bullock, to close out the set with a 25-22 win.

In set two, Georgia opened on a 6-2 run and pushed to go up by as much as six at 14-8. But the Tigers weren't finished as a kill by Fidero at 17-12 in favor of Georgia, triggered a five-point Auburn rally to tie the set at 17. At 19-19, the Tigers capitalized on Bulldog errors and a pair of kills by Johns to finish with a 25-20 second-set victory.

The third set started just as the first two prior with Georgia jumping out to a quick advantage at 5-3. A pair of Bulldog errors tied the set at six and a kill by Culwell and two more Georgia errors gave Auburn a 9-6 lead. The Bulldogs fought back and locked the set at 11 and battled to go up at 16-13. At 19-17 Georgia, a Bulldog error and a kill by Jersonsky tied the score at 19 and at 20 apiece, the Tigers pushed a final run to take the set, 25-22.

Auburn (13-5, 4-2 SEC) hits the road for a Friday match against Ole Miss in Oxford, beginning 7 p.m. The Tigers will take advantage of the weekend as the team has Sunday off.