AUBURN, Ala.- Auburn volleyball (10-4, 2-2 SEC) claimed the series sweep over in-state rival Alabama (8-8, 0-4 SEC) by winning Sunday’s final in straight sets (25-19, 25-14, 25-18) at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers have now won back-to-back SEC games for the first time since defeating Georgia and Mississippi State in back-to-back games in November of 2018. Auburn has now won three games in a row against Alabama. It is the longest win streak against the Crimson Tide since the Tigers won six straight from 2009 to 2012.
“We haven’t changed the plan,” head coach Brent Crouch said. “We just performed at a higher level. We saw some places that we could tweak and run at a higher level. Blocking, we did even a little better today, if you can imagine. We have a lot of good accents.”
rudely, the Tigers performed more efficiently in their second game against the Tide, closing the game with a .248 team hitting percentage. Graduate student Liz Reich led the way when she striked in a tuxedo.435 clips. Reich finished with 11 finishs on 23 attempts with only one foul to pick up her second straight match with double-digit finishs. She closed the night with four rooms.
“Having this rivalry is so exciting,” Reich said. “Both games were so much fun, and the turnaround was huge. Scream at the crowd. It was great!”
Senior Rebekah Rath earned her second consecutive double-double as she led the team with 16 finishs while adding 11 digs. Rath was strong on the service line with a pair of aces while also chipping in six blocks to close the game with 21.0 total points. Rath now has five double-doubles this season.
Senior Val Green added seven pass away, while seniors Tatum Ships and Elif su Yavuz rounded out the strike, totaling five pass away.
Sophomore setter Jackie Barrett handed out 33 assists and added 11 digs for her ninth double-double for the season. Barrett was credited with a few blocks and a execute.
Four Tigers finished the game with double-digit digs. Among Rath and Barrett, were freshmen Fallan Lanham (10) and senior Bella Rosenthall (21). Rosenthall picked up her 14th career game with at least 20 digs with her performance in Sunday’s finals.
Auburn’s defense kept Alabama at a 0.88 hitting percentage on Sunday. Auburn’s play at the net again contributed to that success. The Tigers totaled 11.0 team blocks, following the record-breaking performance on Saturday. Ships again led the team with seven in total.
The Tigers jumped out to an early 5-2 lead thanks to a pair of finishs and an ace from Rath followed by a block of ships. The tide was able to reduce the deficit to two by two rapid pass away. Auburn responded with a 5-0 point, 11-4, with two blocks apiece from Yavuz and Green. The tide retaliated by using a pair of Auburn fouls and two finishs, bringing the lead to 12-8. The two teams traded points until a finish from Green Auburn’s lead built to five, 20-15. Spreading the strike after, the Tigers inched closer with finishs from Yavuz, Rath and Reich before shipping and Rath eventually sealed the set 25-19 with a block.
Auburn again opened the set on a 5-2 run, showing dominance on the net with a few blocks from ships and Rath. The Tigers were able to stretch the lead to five, 10-5, with a service ace from Jordan Sinness marking the run. After the ace, three Alabama strike errors and a Reich finish extended the Tiger lead to 14-6. The two teams fought back and forth until freshman Kate Curtis delivered an ace to force an Alabama timeout, 19-11. Ships put the team on its back at the end of the set, recording two finishs and a block to set the Tigers up big, 23-13. Green and Reich recorded consecutive finishs to pick up the 25-14 set two victory.
Both teams showed action early in the final stanza as neither was able to gather more than a two-point lead before the combo of Barrett and ships included a stuff to give the Tigers breathing room, 10-7. Rath went ahead to deliver another tiger ace, leading four, 12-8. Both teams began exchanging punches before a Green finish kick began with a 7-0 Auburn run, 21-12, marked by solo blocks from Rath and Yavuz and five Tiger finishs. The tide turned and forced a 6-3 run in their favor, 24-16. The Tigers were able to seal the sweep thanks to a Tide service error at match point, 25-18.
The Tigers leave next weekend for a few games in Fayetteville against Arkansas. The series begins on Saturday, October. Nine hours with a five-hour CT scan. Sunday’s final is set for 15: 00 CT. Both games are broadcast on the SEC Network+.