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    SEC Volleyball Today: September 1

    volleyBALL RESULTS
    Texas A&M 3, American 0
    Alabama 3, Gardner-Webb 0
    Florida State 3, Georgia 1
    Missouri 3, Appalachian State 0
    Oregon 3, Kentucky 0
    Arkansas 3, Central Michigan 0
    South Carolina 3, West Virginia 0
    Ole Miss 3, Tennessee Tech 0
    Auburn 3, Jacksonville State 0
    Northern Iowa 3, Mississippi State 0
    Stanford 3, Florida 1
    Purdue 3, LSU 0
    Kentucky 3, Western Carolina 0
    Texas A&M 3, Stony Brook 0
    Alabama 3, Elon 0
    Michigan 3, Arkansas 2

    A&M Rolls to Sweep of American

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Texas A&M used a balanced attack and hit an impressive .440 in a 25-22, 25-12, 25-15 sweep over American today in the Aggies' second match of the Yale Classic at John J. Lee Amphitheater.

    "I thought overall it was a very balanced effort by everyone on the team," A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli said. "The group was focused and ready to go, and it was a real pleasure to coach them today."

    Eight of the 12 A&M players who saw action recorded at least one kill each as the Aggies improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 at the tournament. A&M senior opposite Alisia Kastmo led all players with 11 kills while hitting at a .348 clip for the match. Senior middle blocker Stephanie Minnerly and junior outside hitter Heather Reynolds also shined as they each hit .667 with identical stat lines of eight kills and no errors in 12 attempts. Senior middle blocker Lindsey Miller also pitched in eight kills as the Aggies posted 50 kills to the Eagles' 29 and held American to a .129 hitting efficiency.

    Reynolds took match-high honors with 13 digs as the Aggies outdug the Eagles, 44-29.

    "Kudos to two attackers who had zero errors in the whole match," Corbelli said. "Heather Reynolds and Steph Minnerly both were so focused and very sharp. I thought that in this match our setting also was a lot more accurate than the past, so we are starting to get the rhythm that we want".

    The Aggies briefly got off to a slow start in the opening frame and trailed 12-8 before quickly turning things around and making a comeback thanks in large to a 7-kill, 0-error performance in the set by Minnerly. Trailing 17-14, A&M went on a 6-0 run go up 20-17 and take its first lead since 6-5. Junior setter Allie Sawatzky posted three kills and Minnerly added two during the rally.

    A&M took its largest lead at 23-19, but American got back-to-back kills from Juliana Crum to pull within 23-21. Minnerly then got a kill, punishing the Eagles for an errant overpass, to put A&M at set point. American posted a kill before Kastmo tallied her fourth kill to clinch the set.

    A&M, which ended up outhitting American .405 to .270 in the first set, was firing on all cylinders in the second set, hitting .556 while holding the Eagles to a .088 hitting efficiency. American (2-2) held its only lead at 2-1 when the Aggies erupted for five unanswered points during an 8-1 run. A&M got all-around contributions during the rally as six of the eight points came on kills from four different players, and the other two points followed blocks involving four players.

    The Aggies continued to string together runs of points to double up the Eagles, 22-11. American then registered a kill before committing three consecutive errors to give the Aggies a 25-12 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.

    A&M used a three-point run to take a 5-4 lead in the third set. The Eagles tied the score at 5-all and 6-all but were unable to regain a lead before A&M broke away with a six-point rally. The Aggies, who hit .370 while holding American to a .000 hitting percentage with only six kills in the set, continued to widen the gap, building a 21-12 lead.

    American scored three points to get within 21-15 before back-to-back kills by Reynolds and Ashley Vrana sparked a match-ending four-point run, capped by a block by Miller and Sawatzky.

    Corbelli was pleased with her team's overall performance and was especially happy that she was able to get some reserves onto the court throughout the match, including freshman defensive specialist Kate Praslicka, who made the first debut of her young career.

    "It was nice to be able to put in Kate Praslicka for (Kastmo) to play in the back row a little bit and get her some passing, serving and digging," Corbelli said. "I also love the fact that I could have (Sierra) Patrick and (Angela) Lowak go in and just get a feel of being on the court. It is really important that we do our best to get them out there and just get a feel how different competition is from practice, even though we aren't asking them to do a whole lot just yet.

    A&M closes out the Yale Classic against Stony Brook today at 4 p.m. (CT).
     




    Alabama Volleyball Gets Second Sweep in Phoenix Classic
     
    Elon, N.C. – Behind a .340 hitting percentage, the Alabama women’s volleyball team defeated the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 26-24) in the Elon Phoenix Classic on Saturday morning. Pricilla Duke-Ezeji led the Crimson Tide with 13 kills and finished the day with a .346 hitting percentage. With the win, Alabama improves to 5-1 on the season while the loss drops Gardner-Webb’s record to 0-6.
     
    “Today was a more consistent performance offensively as our attacking numbers for each of the sets was within 20 points of each other,” head coach Ed Allen said. “We would like to see more consistency defensively. We can be better at recognizing what’s happening in front of us, particularly at the net in blocking. We did a reasonable job serving, but would like to see our aces to error ratio a little higher. But again, the players continue to learn to play with one another and are growing as a team.”
     
    For the Tide, six players combined to tally all 47 kills. Freshman outside hitter Laura Steiner joined Duke-Ezeji in double figures with a season-high 11 kills. Steiner had a .280 hitting percentage as she made four errors on 25 total swings. Katherine White had a career-high eight kills in the match and hit .636 with just one error on 11 attempts.
     
    “Katherine’s performance over the course of the year had been great, based on where she started a year ago and where she is today,” Allen said. “She’s able to see the game in front of her and recognizes what’s going on, and she probably our best blocker right now. Offensively, she’s starting to time the slide a lot better and getting her feet in position. She’s really starting to become a dependable offensive player for us and an anchor for our defense.”
     
    Andrea McQuaid finished the day with nine kills on 19 swings with a couple errors and Leigh Moyer and Kanesha Burch added three kills each from the middle blocker position. Sierra Wilson had 39 assists with nine digs and two aces, Yukie Futami had a match-high 12 digs and Kryssi Daniels added two aces and three digs.
     
    With the straight sets victory over Gardner-Webb, Alabama has won the last 12 sets played this season.
     
    In the opening set, Steiner came off the bench to drop seven kills on the Bulldogs, as the Tide had 15 kills in the set. With the Tide leading 13-11, Alabama put together a 5-0 run to open an 18-11 lead. After GWU scored three straight points to cut the UA lead to 18-14, the Tide outscored the Bulldogs 7-3 to take the first set 25-17. Alabama hit .345 in the first set while holding GWU to a .143 mark in the opening frame.
     
    In the second set, Alabama opened a 5-1 lead before GWU cut the deficit to 8-6. The Tide responded with a 9-2 run to open a 17-10 lead, before closing out the set 25-15. UA hit .342 for the set while holding the Bulldogs to a -.028 mark.
     
    Gardner-Webb opened the third set with an 8-2 lead before the Tide rallied to even the score at 13-13 following a kill by White. Alabama’s biggest lead of the set was 19-16 following an ace by Daniels, but GWU evened the score at 22-22 following a set error by Wilson. After four straight side outs, UA got a kill by McQuaid and an error by Gardner-Webb’s Tyler Cockrell to end the match.
     
    Alabama returns to action on Friday, Sept. 7 against Lamar at 11:30 a.m. on day one of the Hampton Inn Bama Bash from Foster Auditorium. Later that day, UA will play Austin Peay with first serve at 7 p.m. CT.
     



    Georgia Volleyball Falls 3-1 to No. 8 FSU

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After winning the first set, the University of Georgia volleyball team dropped a hard-fought match 3-1 (28-26, 11-25, 21-25, 15-25) to the eighth-ranked Florida State Seminoles on Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee, Fla. The loss was the first of the season for the Bulldogs, who fell to 5-1 on the year. Florida State is now 5-0 on the season.

    “We faced a tough Florida State team that is ranked eighth in the country,” head coach Lizzy Stemke said. “Our players showed tremendous fight and teamwork today, as we needed to make some adjustments. We had some players step up and really worked hard as a team. Coming out of this weekend, our teamwork was exciting to see but we need to get more consistent for long matches. Our fight was incredibly promising and we are already looking forward to getting back out there.”

    Georgia had three players with double digit kills, including a double-double performance by Chloe Buckendahl, who finished with 10 kills and 13 digs. Tirah Le’au led the team with 12 kills, followed by Briana Bahr with 11. Georgia was productive from the service line, totaling four aces, including three by Le’au. Kaylee Kehoe finished with a match-high 26 assists.

    Jasmine Eatmon and Le’au each finished with three blocks, with Le’au posting two solo blocks. Allison Summers helped pace the Bulldogs, finishing tied for a team-best 13 digs.

    Georgia executed an aggressive game plan in the first set to take a 28-26 win. A pair of Bahr kills put the Bulldogs up 4-2. Georgia extended its lead to 9-6 on a Le’au kill that forced the Seminoles to call a timeout. The teams tied four times before an Eatmon kill put the Bulldogs up two at 15-13. Following a FSU timeout, the Seminoles scored four-straight points to take their first lead of the set at 20-19. Le’au answered with a block that tied the score at 20. The teams traded points over the next five possessions that resulted in a 23-22 Florida State lead. The Seminoles were at set point at 24-22, but a Buckendahl kill and a block by Eatmon and Le’au tied the match at 24. The teams tied the match at 25 and 26 before Georgia put the Seminoles away with kills by Le’au and Bahr.

    Florida State answered Georgia’s win with a 25-11 win in set two. FSU jumped out to a 12-1 lead and scored the final four points of the set with take the win and even the match 1-1.

    The teams kept it close over the early points of the third set, tying 12 times before a solo block by Le’au gave the Bulldogs a two-point lead at 15-13. FSU made it a 17-16 set, before a block by Perri and Bahr tied the set at 17. With FSU leading 22-19 after a four-point run, Bahr cut the lead to two at 22-20 with a kill. The Seminoles answered with consecutive points, before a Buckendahl kill brought the score to 23-21. FSU scored the final two points to take the third set, 25-21.

    FSU took an early 4-1 lead in the fourth set, before an ace by Kehoe made cut the lead to one at 4-3. The Seminoles answered with three-straight points to take a 7-3 lead. A kill by Bahr brought the score to 9-7. The Bulldogs made it a two-point set at 16-14 on a kill and an ace by Le’au, before the Seminoles went on a 5-0 run that made it a 21-14 set. The Seminoles ended the set on a 3-0 run to seal the 25-16, set four win and the match 3-1.

    Georgia takes the week off before traveling to East Lansing, Mich., for the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational. The Bulldogs will face IPFW on Friday, September 7, before taking on Albany and Michigan State on Saturday, September 8.
     



    Mizzou Wins Lipscomb Invitational
     
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Mizzou volleyball team won the Lipscomb Invitational after defeating Appalachian State, 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-10), on Saturday afternoon. The win improves the Tigers to 6-1 on the season and 3-0 in the tournament. Juniors Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) and Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) and sophomore Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) were named to the All-Tournament Team with Kreklow earning MVP honors. Sophomore Taylor Simpson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) had 11 kills on .346 hitting in the win over Appalachian State while the Tigers played well defensively, limiting the Mountaineers to just .038 hitting on Saturday.
     
    “I was happy with our performance all weekend,” head coach Wayne Kreklow said after the match. “The challenge with the match today was coming back after playing so well last night against Lipscomb and I thought we came out focused and ready to play. Appalachian State did a nice job of keeping balls up in the first set, but I liked the way that our hitters just continued to swing and really took control of the match over the last two sets.”
     
    Recapping Saturday’s match, the Tigers played very well defensively, pulling in 55 digs in three sets while posting eight total blocks. Simpson was the main force offensively on Saturday, but Henning was good as usual with nine kills on 24 swings while Little pitched in nine kills on .250 hitting. For the tournament, both Henning and Little were very good. Henning hit .245 while posting 38 kills and getting the majority of the Tiger swings. She also led the team with 11 blocks, dug 29 balls and served a team-best six aces. Little hit .312 with 20 kills and 10 blocks over the three matches as well.
     
    Kreklow ran the Tiger offense very well en-route to Tournament MVP honors as she guided the team to a .275 attack percentage while averaging 10.65 assists per set and pulling in 29 total digs. She just missed a double-double against Appalachian State with 30 assists and nine digs. Simpson and Regan Peltier (Nixa, Mo.) could have easily landed on the All-Tournament team as well, but the Tigers were allowed just three spots. Simpson had 21 kills on .281 hitting for the tournament while Peltier was second on the team with 23 kills on a team-best .352 hitting over the three matches.
     
    The Tigers won a very defensive first set running away, 25-13, as they did a nice job of continuing to swing hard despite 30 digs from the Appalachian State back row, including 14 from libero Courtney Rhein. But Mizzou was equally as impressive in the back, pulling in 29 digs while posting five blocks. Little and Simpson each had four kills in the first set to lead the team. The Tigers held the Mountaineers to just six kills on 49 attacks in the first. Mizzou had 16 kills on 55 swings.
     
    After a very defensive first set, Mizzou took the second set, 25-13, in large part because of a potent attack that hit .452 in the second set with 16 kills and just two errors on 31 swings. The efficient offense was thanks to Simpson who had seven kills on 12 attacks without an error in the frame. After seeing Appalachian State pull in 30 digs in the first, the Tiger offense limited them to just 13 in the second set.
     
    The third set was all Tigers as they ran out to a 22-3 lead before making mass subs and taking the foot off the gas. They ended up winning, 25-10, clinching the match. Mizzou will be back in action next weekend as it heads to the Morehead State Invitational.
     



    No. 10 Wildcats Suffer Sweep at the Hands of No. 17 Oregon

    ATHENS, Ohio. – The 10th-ranked Kentucky volleyball suffered a 3-0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-16) loss to No. 17 Oregon on Saturday afternoon at the Baymont Invitational on the camps of Ohio University. It marks the first three-set loss for the Blue and White since Oct. 24, 2011.

    With the loss, Kentucky falls to 4-2 in the early stages of the season. Oregon improves to 5-0 on the year. Kentucky closes out the Invitational with a matchup against Western Carolina tonight at 8 p.m. ET.

    Senior Ashley Frazier was the highlight of the day for the Blue and White. The senior totaled eight kills on a career-high .583 hitting percentage for the Wildcats. Junior Whitney Billings had nine kills and a team-high three blocks.

    Oregon used a blistering offensive attack that had three players reach double-figures in the kills’ column and the team combined to hit .500 for the match. Kentucky’s defense had a season lows in blocks (4) and digs (18).

    The Ducks jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead in the opening set and never looked back en route to a 25-18 opening set victory. The Ducks totaled 16 kills on .281 hitting, while UK countered with eight kills on a .065 hitting clip. Frazier had three kills to pace the Wildcats.

    UK opened the second set by grabbing an early 5-3 lead after Frazier had a trio of hammers in the run. Oregon then mounted a 6-0 run to take a 10-7 lead and the Wildcats could not quell the threat. Oregon finished the set on a 15-7 run for the 25-14 win. Oregon posted a sizzling .818 hitting percentage as the team tossed down 18 kills and did not commit a single error in the stanza.

    In the third frame the teams exchanged points back and forth until the Ducks posted consecutive kills and took a 4-2 lead. The 17th-ranked Ducks would not look back from there finishing the set with a 25-16 win. Oregon hit .500 with 17 kills in the final frame. UK had nine on .227 hitting.
     




    Razorbacks sweep Central Michigan
     
    ANN ARBOR, Mich. – In its first of two matches Saturday, the University of Arkansas volleyball team knocked off Central Michigan in three sets (25-21, 25-16, 25-15) on day two of the adidas/Michigan Challenge in Ann Arbor, Mich. Jasmine Norton tallied a match-high 12 kills to lead the Razorback offense that posted a .363 hitting percentage against Central Michigan. The Razorbacks return to the court Saturday evening for the tournament finale against the host team, No. 22 Michigan. First serve of the match is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (CT).

    Roslandy Acosta and Liz Fortado both had seven kills against Central Michigan. The two Razorback attackers only had one hitting error between them. Acosta hit .429 (7-1-14) while Fortado posted a .700 mark (7-0-10). Kasey Heckelman added six kills and a .545 hitting percentage (6-0-11) in the middle. Arkansas’ defense held the Chippewas to a .067 efficiency during the final two sets of the match. Libero Emily Helm led the team with eight digs and Janeliss Torres-Lopez had a match-high three total blocks.
                
    “That was a very good win,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “(Central Michigan) is an NCAA Tournament team from last year and we did some good things to get a win, and now we’re in position to win a tournament title. We have to be ready for the quick turnaround for our next match against another very good team in Michigan.”
                
    Arkansas (6-0) jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first set and led by eight, 15-7, after an attack error from Central Michigan (2-3). The Chippewas pulled to within three later in the set but after a CMU attack error and a kill from Acosta, the Razorbacks built their advantage to 19-14. Norton brought the team to set point and two plays later, Fortado closed out the opener, 25-21, with a kill on the right side.
                
    The two teams opened the second set by trading points, but with the score tied at eight-all, Arkansas reeled off seven straight points to take a 15-8 lead. During that stretch of points, the Razorbacks took advantage of five Central Michigan errors. Back-to-back kills from Fortado pushed the lead to 19-11, and on the team’s third chance to win the set, Acosta found the floor to clinch the game, 25-16, and give Arkansas the 2-0 match lead.
                
    The third set followed a similar pattern with the Razorbacks using a four-point push to distance from Central Michigan and take a 13-8 lead. Arkansas won seven of the next 10 points to increase its advantage to 19-11 after a kill from Acosta. The Chippewas got no closer than seven points the rest of the way and, on match point, handed the set, 25-15, and win to Arkansas with a bad-set violation.
                
    Saturday’s match was the Razorbacks’ third this season with a hitting percentage of .300 or higher. The offense improved in each set, capping the match with a .429 figure in the third set. Central Michigan posted a .290 hitting percentage in the opening set, but the Arkansas defense limited the opponent to hitting marks of .065 and .069 in the second and third sets, respectively.

    The Wolverines will be Arkansas’ first ranked opponent of the season. Log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com for match coverage, including audio stream, live stats and interactive blog.
     



    Thévenin and Gamecocks Topple West Virginia in Three

    FAIRFAX, Va. - Behind a dominating performance from junior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin and the Gamecock defense, South Carolina (5-0) swept past West Virginia (2-3), 25-15, 25-18, 25-19, in the first match for both teams at The Mason Inn Patriot Invitational.

    Thévenin posted 17 kills and hit .351 to lead the way offensively. She also played good defense, ranking second on the team with 14 digs and three block assists. Junior libero Paige Wheeler added 16 digs, while sophomore outside hitter Bethanie Thomas posted nine kills. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Cara Howley added five kills and a match-best three aces.

    Caleah Wells led West Virginia with nine kills. Brittany Sample had a double-double with 25 assists and 15 digs. The Gamecock defense held the Mountaineers to a .073 hitting performance, while South Carolina posted a .233 mark in the contest.

    In the 25-15 set-one win, South Carolina ran out to a 12-6 lead, capped by a kill and an ace from Howley. A 7-1 run nearly ended the frame, as both Thévenin and Thomas had two kills in the stretch. The outside hitters combined again to close out the set at 25-15. Wheeler had eight digs and Thévenin seven in the first set alone.

    Tied at 16-16 in the second set, South Carolina took nine of the final 11 points to claim the game, 25-18. Howley added two aces to go with two Thévenin kills in the final stretch. Thévenin made six kills without an error in the second.

    South Carolina had a five-point lead in the third set that the Mountaineers nearly fought back through, but the Gamecocks ended the frame on a five-point skein to end the match with a 25-19 third-set win. Thévenin landed six more kills in the third and posted all three of her block assists in the frame, while both Wheeler and sophomore setter Lexie Pawlik had four digs.
     
    The two teams tied with five blocks; the rest of the statistical categories went the Gamecocks' way.
     




    Rebels Overwhelm Tennessee Tech In 3-0 Victory

    OXFORD, Miss. – After a hard fought three-set victory Friday night against Xavier, the Ole Miss volleyball team (3-3) dispatched Tennessee Tech 3-0 (25-10, 25-12, 27-25) on Saturday in its final match in the Xavier Invitational in Cincinnati, Ohio.

    Despite it being just a three-set match, senior right side hitter Allegra Wells registered a season-high tying 13 kills. Similarly, senior setter Amanda Philpot averaged 11.33 assists per set to finish with 34 assists for the match. Junior outside hitter Kara Morgan finished one kill shy of a double-double with nine kills and a team-high 12 digs.

    “We had a real steady performance by Kara Morgan and Ashley Veach again, and I was real pleased with how we responded and built on last night’s win,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “Allegra also had a very solid match – 14 kills and five blocks – she  did a very good job today.”

    Ole Miss came out of the gates on fire, overwhelming Tennessee Tech for a 25-10 victory in the first set. The Rebels went on multiple 3-0 runs throughout the set, and one 8-0 run that ultimately sealed it. Junior outside hitter Kellie Goss, freshman middle blocker Nakeyta Clair and Wells each had four kills in the set. Philpot, who had a season-high 46 assists in Friday’s five-set victory over Xavier, had 14 assists in the opening set. Ole Miss was very efficient in its attacks, hitting at a .462 clip for the set.

    The second set was much of the same for Ole Miss, as the Rebels marched to 25-12 victory. Wells again hammered down four kills, and Philpot dished out nine assists in the set.

    The third set was much closer for Ole Miss, but after having played in four five-set matches already this season, the seasoned Rebels pushed through and got the 27-25 victory to finish the match. Wells and Morgan paced Ole Miss throughout the set with six and five kills, respectively. It is Ole Miss’ first three-set victory of the season.

    Ole Miss will play again Friday when it opens its home schedule with the Magnolia Invitational. The Rebels will play Alabama A&M Friday at 1:30 p.m. CT, before playing Rice at 7:00 p.m. CT. Ole Miss will close out play in the Magnolia Invitational with a 1:00 p.m. tilt against North Dakota.






    Auburn Sweeps Jacksonville State, Wins Home Tournament

    AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn volleyball captured its second straight tournament championship Saturday afternoon, winning the War Eagle Invitational with a 3-0 sweep (25-15, 25-17, 25-23) of in-state foe Jacksonville State at the Student Activities Center.

    The Tigers (6-0) have won seven consecutive matches, dating back to the final match of 2011, for the longest winning streak for an Auburn team since the Tigers won nine straight during the 2003 season. With the win over the Gamecocks (4-3), Auburn Head Coach Rick Nold earned his first victory over the team he coached for nine seasons.

    "It's good to get the wins this weekend," Nold said. "We've been working on some stuff, and this weekend I thought we got to see a lot of things we wanted to. We still have to make a lot of improvements. We talked about that a lot throughout the game, just some little adjustments we can make, but a lot of this is trying to get ready for conference play."

    Junior Katherine Culwell was named tournament MVP after an 11-kill, three-block performance in Saturday's match, giving her 28 kills (2.80/set) for the week. She was third among all players in the tournament with 10 blocks.

    "We talked a lot about the level Katherine was hitting last weekend," Nold said. "And we worked on some things in practice, and we talked all weekend about how she could make a few little improvements. But it makes a huge difference for us when she can use the athleticism she has."

    Senior Sarah Bullock and junior Camila Jersonsky were named to the all-tournament team as well. Bullock had her first double-double of the season with a team-high 12 kills along with 10 digs today; she had 29 kills and 34 digs for the tournament. Jersonsky led all players in the tournament with a .500 hitting percentage, putting down 22 kills on 42 attacks with just one error. In today's match, she had five kills and four blocks.

    Junior setter Chelsea Wintzinger earned her third double-double of the season with 18 assists and 12 digs, and Sarah Wroblicky led the Tigers with 13 digs.

    Auburn controlled nearly every facet of Saturday's match. The Tigers had 44 kills to JSU's 34 and out-hit the Gamecocks .273 to .132. Auburn also won the digs battle, 51-47, had three service aces and had seven blocks to JSU's six.

    The Tigers dominated the first set to the tune of a 25-15 win. Auburn hit for an average percentage at .206 but forced Jacksonville State into 10 errors for a -.077 mark. Culwell had Auburn's first five kills of the match as the Tigers sprinted to a 10-3 lead and never looked back.

    Set two started out in much the same fashion as the Tigers went on an 8-0 run early to take a 9-4 lead en route to a 25-18 second-set victory. Jacksonville State hit much better in the set at .258, getting seven kills from Hivya Leite. But Auburn registered an outstanding 20 kills in the set, led by five from Bullock and four each from Culwell and Jersonsky and hit at a .354 clip.

    Jacksonville State found a bit more consistency in the third set and made Auburn sweat just a bit before the Tigers held on for a 25-23 win and their fourth sweep of the season. Bullock was the star for the Tigers in the final frame, recording six kills on nine attacks and a pair of digs, hitting .444 in the final set. Auburn led 22-15 at one point late in the set and had its first match point chance at 24-19, but Jacksonville State kept clawing away, cutting the lead down to a single point at 24-23 after fighting off four straight match point tries. But Culwell's 11th kill of the day finally finished off the Gamecocks and kept the Tigers unbeaten in 2012.

    Auburn will play its rescheduled match at Troy on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. in its next action. The final non-conference weekend of the season will take the Tigers to Dallas for the SMU Doubletree Classic, where Auburn will face Wichita State, Texas State and SMU next Friday and Saturday.

     




    Bulldogs Fall to No. 23 Northern Iowa, 3-0

    LOS ANGELES, Calif. -  Offensive struggles continued to plague the Volleyball Bulldogs during their Labor Day weekend tournament in Los Angeles Saturday. Mississippi State (2-3) registered 29 kills and an .083 attack percentage, both season-lows, in dropping a straight-sets decision to No. 23 Northern Iowa (4-2) in the first of two Saturday matches for State in the USC-hosted Luxe City Center  Trojan Invitational.

    The Panthers claimed 25-20 wins in the first and third sets and erased a 23-21 MSU advantage with a 5-1 run in winning the second set 26-24.

    Freshman Taylor Scott, one of four rookies (including the libero) in MSU’s starting lineup, paced State with 12 kills. It was the fifth double-figure kills total in as many matches for the Claremont, Calif., native.

    The Panthers had four more attack errors than the Bulldogs, but built up a 53-29 edge in kills. UNI also held the upper hand on defense with a 50-42 advantage in digs and a 7-4 edge in total team blocking.

    Scott’s fourth and final kill of the second period put State ahead 24-23 and a point away from evening the match at the break. But UNI reeled off the final three points, two on kills by Shelby Kintzel and Krista DeGeest, to end the set.

    Both offenses warmed up in the final stanza, with State delivering 13 kills and hitting a match-best .211. Junior Dani McCree came off the bench in the third set to make her season debut, giving the Bulldogs a spark with four of those kills and a solo block.  McCree, from Rialto, Calif., helped draw the Bulldogs to within three points at 16-13 with her third kill of the set. But the Panthers then ran off four straight points and cruised on to a match-clinching 25-20 win.

    SEC Freshman of the Week notched her second 19-dig performance of the weekend to pace MSU on defense.

    DeGeest had a match-high 15 kills while Megan Lehman added 12 and Kintszel chipped in 10 with a match-high four blocks.

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    No. 18 Florida Volleyball Falls in Four to No. 9 Stanford at Nike Big Four

    UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 18 University of Florida volleyball team (3-2, 0-0 SEC) put up a fight against perennial power No. 9 Stanford. After a first set victory for the Gators, the Cardinal took over and defeated Florida in four sets (25-22, 22-25, 20-25, 16-25) Saturday on the final day of the Nike Big Four Classic.

    Freshman Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) led the way once again for the Orange and Blue with 15 kills on the afternoon, tallying 16.5 points overall. Both junior middle blocker Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.) and senior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) registered 13 kills for the Gators on Saturday, as Wiggs hit .522 with just one error against the Card. Freshman Simone Antwi (Fairfax Station, Va.) tallied 9.5 points against Stanford, including eight kills.

    Junior setter Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) dished out 50 assists for Florida, narrowly missing a double-double with seven digs. The Gators’ backrow defense was anchored by sophomores Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) and Madison Monserez (Orlando, Fla.), who combined for 24 digs on the afternoon. Unroe continued her perfect serve-receive streak and added two service aces for the Orange and Blue, as the Gators registered three aces to the Cardinal’s one

    The Gators started the first set much the way they began Friday’s match, with a kill through the seam of the block by Recek. The teams traded points but Florida kept at least a two-point advantage throughout the early going, courtesy of some quick sets to middles Antwi and Mann. Unroe ripped an ace to give Florida a five-point edge and kept the momentum going with a clutch dig on the next play, setting the Gators up for a great kill by Recek at 13-7. A solo stuff block by Wiggs forced the Cardinal to take their second timeout of the set at 17-10. A one-handed dish from Brauneis left a wide open net for Mann and gave the Gators momentum to win the next long rally and get ahead of the Cardinal, 19-11.

    Stanford went on a 4-0 run behind the serve of Kyle Gilbert and forced a Florida timeout at 19-15. Out of the timeout, freshman Gabby Mallette (Orange Park, Fla.) killed it down the line to stop the Stanford surge, 20-15. Three quick points by the Cardinal forced another Gator timeout at 21-18. An Antwi kill at the end of a long rally and an ensuing kill by Wiggs made it set point for the Gators at 24-20. Wiggs came from the middle once again to give the Gators the first set victory, 25-22.

    Unroe ripped her second ace of the match to begin the second stanza and persistent backcourt defense pushed the Gators ahead early in the set, 8-4, forcing a Stanford timeout. The Cardinal used the pause in play to their advantage, going on a 3-0 run to pull within one, 8-7. The Gators used a timeout after the Cardinal tied things up with a block at 9-9. Stanford continued to surge but kills by rookies Recek and Whaley put Florida within one with the Gators down 13-12.

    An overpass kill by Inky Ajanaku put the Cardinal ahead 16-13, a three-point advantage Stanford kept through much of the end of the second set. Florida called timeout after a Morgan Boukather kill and Stanford continued to surge ahead, 22-17. A rookie roof by Antwi and Recek pulled the Gators back within three, 22-19. Antwi and Wiggs teamed up for another stuff to make it Stanford up 23-20. Wiggs then smartly tooled the Cardinal block to get the kill and force a Stanford timeout with the Card leading, 23-21. A Recek kill down the pipe put Florida within one, 24-22. Wiggs was stuffed to end the second set and tie the match at one set apiece, as Stanford took the second set by the same score as the first, 25-22.

    Stanford jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead to start the third stanza but Recek nailed one inside the block to put Florida on the scoreboard, down 2-1. The teams traded serve and tied the set at 5-5 off an overpass kill by Antwi, set up by a bullet serve by Unroe. The Gators took the lead off an Antwi kill at 7-6 but Stanford surged, pulling ahead 11-9. A monster kill by Mann closed the gap and a Stanford hitting error tied things up at 11-11. The Cardinal kept the momentum and a kill by Jordan Burgess forced a Florida timeout as Stanford led at 15-12.

    Florida pulled within one at 16-15 with a tip by Antwi but Stanford continued to use the gaps behind the block to pull ahead, going up 19-16. The teams continued to battle but a Florida hitting error forced their second timeout of the set, down 21-17. Recek tooled the block to put the Gators back on the scoreboard down 22-18. A Swalchick hitting error set the Cardinal up with set point but a Stanford hitting error kept the Gators in it the set, 24-20. A dumped kill by setter Madi Bugg gave Stanford the set at 25-20.

    Recek continued to swing away in the fourth, notching the first kill of the set for Florida to tie the stanza at 1-1. The Cardinal then went on a 4-0 run to force a Florida timeout at 5-1. A Recek kill from Monserez stopped the streak and a Stanford error put the Gators within two at 5-3. Stanford put together four quick points to inch away, 9-4. Mann slammed three straight kills to force a Cardinal timeout as the Gators pulled within two, 11-9. Smith tipped one behind the block to continue to keep Florida close at 14-12. Wiggs had a slam from the X play out of the middle, keeping Florida within two at 15-13.

    The Gators pulled within one courtesy of a Cardinal hitting error and continued to pressure Stanford at 16-15. The Card surged to score four quick points and extend their lead at 20-16, forcing a Florida timeout. Stanford’s streak continued, pulling ahead 22-16 off a few Gator miscues. The Cardinal fired off six straight points to close the match, 25-16, ending the set on a stuff block.

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    LSU Volleyball Falls to No. 7 Purdue

    HOUSTON, Texas – No. 7 Purdue recorded 11 blocks and limited the LSU volleyball team to season-low .061 hitting percentage to claim a 3-0 decision [25-20, 25-19, 25-20] over the Tigers Saturday to conclude the relocated Tiger Classic at Fox Gym on the Rice campus.

    All four of LSU’s (2-4) setbacks have come against Top 20 opponents. The Tigers committed 26 attack errors and were held to under a .100 hitting clip in all three sets.

    Desiree Elliott and Madie Jones cranked eight kills apiece to pace LSU. Helen Boyle ripped a season-best seven kills, while Khourtni Fears notched four kills and three blocks.

    Defensively, Meghan Mannari corralled 11 digs. Cati Leak also picked up eight scoops.

    “Again, I thought we gave another great effort against a quality opponent,” head coach Fran Flory said. “We fought extremely hard, and there were a few points that made the difference during each set. Give credit to Purdue for making those big plays in key situations. Playing against four Top 20 programs over the first two weekends have made us a battle-tested group and shown us what we need to work on.”

    Purdue (5-1) rode reigning AVCA All-America First-Team pick Ariel Turner to a match-high 12 kills. She also added 10 digs and four blocks. Kierra Jones tacked on six kills and a match-best seven blocks.

    The Boilermaker dueling setters, Rachel Davis and Val Nichol, passed out 17 and 15 assists, respectively. Nichol also tacked on four digs, three kills, three aces and two blocks. On the back row, Carly Cramer sprawled out for a match-best 21 digs for Purdue.  

    Down 14-12 in set one, LSU ripped off seven of the next nine points to secure a 19-16 edge. Jones powered home a pair of kills and LSU’s defense forced Purdue into three hitting miscues. The Boilermakers charged back with a 9-1 finishing kick to secure the 25-20 win. Turner knocked three kills, and Purdue picked up a pair of blocks involving Jones.

    The Boilermakers fired out to a 6-1 advantage to start the second set and led wire-to-wire in the 25-19 triumph. Elliott provided five of her eight kills during the middle stanza. Purdue posted its match-best .276 hitting percentage and converted on 14-of-20 sideout attempts.

    LSU regained its bearings early in set three and went ahead 13-11 on a Boyle kill. The Boilermakers responded with 13 of the next 16 points aided by six LSU hitting mistakes. LSU erased four potential match points before Purdue clinched the sweep with the 25-20 victory.

    “We’re very close to finding our consistent offensive rhythm and tempo,” Flory said. “I’m proud of the progress our team made from last week to this week. We’ll get back into the practice gym and make the necessary adjustments to continue to get better.”

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    No. 10 Kentucky Rolls to a 3-0 Sweep of Western Carolina

    ATHENS, Ohio – Senior Ashley Frazier continued her impressive play with 12 kills on .458 hitting and adding a career-best seven digs en route to leading No. 10 Kentucky to a 3-0 (25-8, 25-15, 25-23) win over Western Carolina to close out the Baymont Invitational on Saturday evening.
    With the win the Wildcats improve to 5-2 on the year. UK is next in action at the Ameritas Players Challenge on the campus of Nebraska. UK will take on Duquesne in the opening match on Thursday, Sept. 6 at 5:30 p.m. ET.

    “It was a really great offensive performance tonight,” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “I thought our focus and energy was where it needed to be. We did a good job staying disciplined and executing the game plan.”

    Kentucky’s offense dominated the match to the tune of 51 kills on a blazing .423 attacking percentage. Six players hit at an above .500 clip in the match. Sophomore Lauren O’Conner led the attack with 14 kills on .542 hitting. Junior Alexandra Morgan posted nine hammers on .500 hitting with junior Whitney Billings totaling six kills on a .545 clip.

    Senior setter Christine Hartmann passed out 38 assists and found seven players for two more kills in the match. Senior libero Stephanie Klefot led the back line defensive effort with 10 digs.

    “It was great to be able to get some new people into the match,” Skinner said. “We were able to get Shelby (Workman) and Desiree (Wilkerson) playing in the front row and giving them an opportunity to help us win.”

    The Wildcat offense started the match clicking on cylinders as the Blue and White tallied eight kills in its first 11 points to surge to a comfortable 11-3 advantage in the opening frame. After Western Carolina opted to use its first timeout the Wildcats did not slow down churning out an 8-1 run and taking a commanding 20-4 lead following five more kills and a block from Hartmann and freshman Sara Schwarzwalder.  UK closed the frame on a 5-3 run and earned the opening frame by a 25-8 score.

    Kentucky blasted 17 kills on a searing .552 hitting clip. O’Conner notched six kills with Frazier posting four. UK committed just one error in the frame, while stifling the Catamounts to just three kills on a negative .077 hitting percentage.

    Western Carolina battled the Wildcats in a back-and-forth battle in the early stages of the second set before Kentucky turned a 5-0 run into a 15-7 lead. The run was highlighted by a pair of kills from Frazier and an ace from Klefot. UK closed out the frame on a 10-8 run to secure a 2-0 lead into the locker room with a 25-15 win.

    UK posted its second-straight set with 17 kills, this time on an improved .567 hitting clip. O’Conner again led the attack with five kills, while Frazier totaled four hammers and added a pair of spectacular digs to the Wildcat cause. Western Carolina managed 10 kills on .233 hitting.

    The squads exchanged points back and forth for the entire set until Western Carolina managed to score two straight points and attain an 18-16 lead in the third. Kentucky climbed back into things and tied it at 18 with a kill from junior Desiree Wilkerson. A slicing kill down the line by Frazier gave the Blue and White a two-point edge at 23-21 and Western Carolina took a timeout to quell the threat. Kentucky finished the set with Morgan totaling a kill and the final point coming from the hand of O’Conner.

    UK again matched the 17-kill total in the third frame. Western Carolina had 11 on .176 hitting.

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    A&M Wins Yale Classic After Sweeping SBU
     
    NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Texas A&M won the Yale Classic today after completing a 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-19) victory over Stony Brook at the John J. Lee Amphitheater this afternoon and going 3-0 in the tournament.
     
    It was the fourth consecutive victory for the Aggies, who improve to 5-1 overall. The Seawolves fall to 1-5.
     
    A&M senior middle blocker Stephanie Minnerly was named tournament MVP after hitting .460 with 26 kills and only three errors in 50 attempts throughout the Classic.
     
    “Sometimes kids just get in a zone and everything just comes together and feels right,” A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli said. “(Minnerly) found openings. She was blocking. She was running in transition so fast and so hard at the defense. I’ve always said she is one of my hardest workers, and how hard she worked on the court during this entire tournament was just a testament to the person she is and the player she can be, and when things all come together for her, she was unstoppable..”
     
    Junior setter Allie Sawatzky, who led A&M with 12 kills in the victory over the Seawolves, and junior outside hitter Heather Reynolds, who averaged a team-leading 4.40 digs per set and also averaged 2.5 kills per set while hitting .396 throughout the weekend, were named to the all-tournament team.
     
    “Sawatzky certainly is blossoming this season early here in the second weekend just being comfortable with a variety of hitters,” Corbelli said. “Allie is one of those returning starters who is in charge of making sure that she commands the court. I like to call her the general. The setter on the court is your general and they have to take command, and she did a beautiful job of that.
     
    “And Reynolds was just all-around one of the most valuable players of the weekend. One thing that really stands out is that she is so reliable. She doesn’t make errors. I like what she brings from a competitive standpoint, her intensity, and her game is just getting better every day”
     
    The Aggies set the tone early against the Seawolves, opening the match by scoring the first five points. A&M, which outhit SBU .481 to .100 in the frame, continued to score consecutive points throughout the set with Sawatzky, who had a team-leading five kills in the frame, keeping SBU off balance with her setting and attacking. A&M would go on to build its largest lead at 24-12, but Stony Brook stayed alive with back-to-back kills before serving into the net to end the set.
     
    Corbelli tweaked the lineup in the second set, starting Ashley Vrana on the outside in place of senior Tori Mellinger, and sophomore defensive specialist Hannah Hood playing back row and freshman Shelbi Vaughan playing front row for senior opposite Alisia Kastmo. With the score tied at 1-1, Reynolds posted one of her four kills of the set to give the Aggies a lead they would hold for the remainder of the set.
     
    A&M, which outhit the Seawolves .282 to .077 in the set, equaled its largest lead at 21-16 after Reynolds tooled the block for a kill. SBU rallied for three points to get within 21-19 when Reynolds’ off-speed shot fell in for another kill. SBU answered with a kill, but Sawatzky and Vrana countered with kills to put the Aggies at set point. SBU fought off two set points before Vrana put down her fourth kill to give A&M a 25-22 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
     
    With the comfortable lead in the match, Corbelli once again altered the starting lineup for the third set, inserting freshmen Kate Praslicka and Angela Lowak and later subbing in rookies Sierra Patrick and Shelby Sullivan.
     
    “One our goals going into the tournament was to get three wins,” Corbelli said, “and one was to make sure we did our best to give our new players who are going to be having an impact some court time. Just that kind of experience is really hard to get sometimes. There were a few moments we thought it would work fine and luckily it did. The upperclassmen showed really great leadership and they kept the mindset on the court that we wanted without having a drop off in our performance.”
     
    SBU scored the first four points of the third set, but A&M quickly came back and took its first lead at 8-7. The Seawolves tied the score with a kill before a kill by Patrick marked the start of a six-point run by the Aggies. A&M went on to build its largest lead at 19-12, but the Seawolves chipped away at the lead and cut the margin to 19-17 after scoring five unanswered points. SBU would get no closer, and with the Aggies leading 22-19, Reynolds posted her ninth kill. Libero Megan Pendergast followed with an ace and then Reynolds teamed with senior middle blocker Lindsey Miller for a block to complete the sweep.
     
    A&M outhit SBU .340 to .088 for the match and led in kills (44-31), digs (53-43) and blocks (5-1). Reynolds and Pendergast tied for team-high honors in digs with 11 apiece, and Miller had a match-high four blocks.
     
    Melissa Rigo was the only SBU player to post double-digit kills with 14.

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    Alabama Volleyball Wins Elon Phoenix Classic Following 3-0 Win over Elon

    ELON, N.C. – The Alabama volleyball team won all three matches in the Elon Phoenix Classic, following a 3-0 (25-15, 25-28, 25-17) win over Elon in the final game of the tournament and return as the tournament champions. With the straight sets win over the Phoenix, the Crimson Tide has now won the last 15 sets they have played and have now won five matches in a row to improve to 6-1 on the season. Elon falls to 3-4 on the year.

    “This was a solid offensive performance for us once again and its two matches in a row that our numbers were indicative of the talent that we have,” head coach Ed Allen said. “We’re pleased with the pin players and what they did, hitting with a lot of consistency. The workload was spread out, as three players were close together in the number of kills.”

    For the fourth straight match Alabama posted a hitting percentage over .300, this time posting a .314 hitting mark against Elon. The Tide finished the match with 48 kills and 16 errors on 102 attempts as three players reached double figures in kills. Kayla Fitter led the way with 15 kills, as she played her first full match since playing the entire match against Northeastern, the second match of the year.

    “Kayla gives us a lot of stability emotionally when she’s on the floor,” Allen said. “Her ball control really helps us a lot as she’s able to take a lot of the load and not stretch our DSs. She always hits for a high percentage and keeps the ball alive which allows us to continue rallies.”

    Elon Phoenix Classic All-Tournament Team selection Pricilla Duke-Ezeji capped her tournament with her best hitting percentage of the season, as she hit .476 with 14 kills and four errors on 21 swings on Saturday night. She finished the tournament with a .391 hitting percentage with a team-high 39 kills while adding seven total blocks.

    Elon Phoenix Classic Most Valuable player, Andrea McQuaid had 11 kills on 21 swings with one error for a .429 hitting mark, while adding nine dig and two assists. McQuaid finished the tournament with a .410 hitting percentage, recording 30 kills on 61 swings with five errors.

    Sierra Wilson, who was also selected to the all-tournament team, continues to lead the UA offensive attack as the freshman setter had 37 assist with four kills and five digs. Wilson finished the tournament with 106 assists to average 11.78 per set. She also added 20 digs, six aces, five kills, and four blocks.

    “I thought it was a good defensive effort and dug the ball well and were positioned where we needed to be defensively,” Allen said. “It could have been a better blocking night for us and were looking for more offense from our middles. We served well and scored at a high rate, against clearly the second best team in the tournament and maybe the best team we’ve played so far this season.”

    From the back row, Alabama collected 51 digs as a team and Cristina Arenas and Yukie Futami had 12 kills each.

    In the first, the score was tied at 12-12 before Alabama went on a 7-1 run to open a 20-13 lead and finished the set with a 13-3 run to post a 25-15 win in the first set.

    The Tide trailed 16-13 in the second set before rallying for nine straight points to take a 22-16 lead with Futami serving. From there the teams would side out the next four points for a 25-18 UA win in set two.

    Alabama held a 14-9 lead in the second set by Elon rallied to get within one point at 15-14 and 16-15. Leading by one, UA finished the set with a 9-2 run to post a 25-17 victory in the third for the Tide’s fifth straight win and fourth by a 3-0 victory.

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    Razorbacks push No. 22 Michigan to five

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. – In the championship match of the 2012 adidas/Michigan Challenge, the University of Arkansas volleyball team dropped a five-set decision to No. 22 Michigan (25-17, 21-25, 25-22, 21-25, 18-16) at Cliff Keen Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Razorbacks had two match points in the fifth set before the home team eventually rallied for the win. The loss is Arkansas’ first of the season and drops the team’s record to 6-1 through the first two weeks of the year.

    Jasmine Norton led all players with 19 kills and added a career-high 24 digs to complete her fourth double-double performance of the season.

    Roslandy Acosta had 15 kills and freshman Liz Fortado tallied a career-high 10 kills in the loss. From her setter position, Raymariely Santos posted her third double-double of the season with 48 assists and 10 digs. She also registered a career-high seven total blocks. For their respective efforts during the weekend, Norton and Acosta earned spots on the all-tournament team.

    Libero Emily Helm tied for the team lead with 24 digs of her own and had a season-high six assists. The fourth Razorback with double-figure digs was Christa Alvarez with 13 digs. At the net, Kasey Heckelman had a match-high eight total blocks. Despite the loss, the Razorback defense finished the match with more digs (83-79) and more total blocks (16.0-5.0) than Michigan.