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    SEC Volleyball Today: September 4

    volleyBALL RESULTS
    Auburn 3, Troy 0
    Oklahoma 3, Arkansas 1

    Auburn Sweeps Troy for Seventh Straight Win
    TROY, Ala. – Auburn’s volleyball team kept up its winning ways on the road Tuesday night, picking up a 3-0 win over Troy (25-19, 25-21, 25-23) at Sartain Hall, equaling the best start to a season in school history.
    The Tigers (7-0) have now won seven straight matches to open the season for just the second time in school history, matching a 7-0 start by the 1991 Tigers. Tonight also marked Auburn’s eighth consecutive win, dating back to the final match of last season, and kept Auburn unbeaten all-time against Troy (3-4).
    “It was a good, competitive match both ways,” Auburn head coach Rick Nold said. “I thought they played great defense and served aggressively, which took us out of our offense. But we did a good job fighting back, pushing the middles a bit, and getting them out of system.”
    Senior Sarah Bullock picked up her second double-double of the season with a season-high 13 kills and 10 digs to lead the Auburn offensive attack. She also had 35 total attacks on the night, giving her 2,916 for her career and moving her into eighth all-time in total attacks in Auburn history. Junior Courtney McDonald matched her season-best with 12 kills, hitting at a .476 clip, and matched a career-high with five blocks on the night. Katherine Culwell recorded nine kills and three blocks, and Camila Jersonsky added eight kills.
    Junior Chelsea Wintinzger also had a double-double, her fourth of the year, with a match-high 24 assists and 11 digs. Ciara Richards also added 20 assists, and Sarah Wroblicky had 18 digs.
    The Tigers had 48 kills to Troy’s 35 and out-hit the Trojans .220 to .118. It was the fifth time this season the Tigers held an opponent under .200 hitting. Auburn also won the digs battle, 60-54, and had eight total blocks to Troy’s five.
    Bullock had seven kills in the first set as the Tigers pulled away late for a 25-19 win. After jumping out to a quick 5-1 lead, Auburn saw Troy fight back and tie the score at 8-8 before Auburn went on a 10-4 run to make it 18-12. But four straight points from the Trojans cut Auburn’s margin to just two. From there, though, three kills from Bullock would spur a 6-1 run and eventually put away the first set.
    Set two saw the Auburn block get involved as the Tigers had four stuffs in a 25-21 win. McDonald was an offensive and defensive key for Auburn with three kills and three blocks in the set, and Jersonsky contributed four kills of her own. The Tigers jumped out to an early lead once again, this time taking a quick 6-1 advantage. While Auburn would never trail in the set, Troy would pull within three points at 14-11, forcing a Tiger timeout. Three straight kills from Jersonsky would extend the Auburn lead to 17-12, and kills from Bullock, Rowand, McDonald and Culwell would close out the set.
    The third set was a much closer affair as Troy out-hit the Tigers .282 to .250 in the final game. Auburn finally gained a bit of breathing room  after a kill from Culwell and a block from Jersonsky and Rowand to make it 13-8, but Troy clawed its way back to within a point at 14-13 when Auburn committed three straight errors. After an Auburn timeout, the Tigers rolled off three straight points to jump back ahead 17-13, but Troy would again fight back to tie the score at 19-19. Auburn would get kills from McDonald and Culwell to push the lead to 23-20, and kills from Jersonsky and Culwell finally put the Trojans away, 25-23.
    Auburn will wrap up non-conference play this weekend in Dallas, Texas, at the SMU Doubletree Classic. The Tigers will face a pair of 2011 NCAA Tournament participants in Texas State and Wichita State on Friday afternoon before concluding the weekend against host SMU on Saturday.

    Arkansas Suffers Four-set loss to Oklahoma at Barnhill Arena
    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team dropped a four-set decision (25-19, 18-25, 27-25, 25-18) to Oklahoma Tuesday evening in front of 1,012 fans at Barnhill Arena. In the loss, Jasmine Norton matched her season high with 19 kills and added 12 digs for her fifth double-double effort of the season. Raymariely Santos tallied a double-double of her own with 43 assists and 11 digs. Defensively, the Razorbacks were paced by 14 digs from libero Emily Helm and five total blocks from Kasey Heckelman.
    “We’re looking for fight, hard work and a commitment to being great,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “You can’t teach that. At some point, it has to be something you want to be. We have to find that. We’ve been doing some good things but we got a little complacent today. When you do that against a good team like Oklahoma, you get in trouble fast.”
    The teams traded points early and were tied for the sixth time when Liz Fortado found the floor to even the score at 11-all. However, Oklahoma made a quick push to go ahead 17-14 and force a timeout from Pulliza. The visitors maintained their advantage through the remainder of the opener and arrived at set point with a service ace. Arkansas saved one set point but the Sooners went on to close out the game, 25-19.
    The Razorbacks responded in the second set to even the match. With the score tied at seven, Arkansas reeled off six points in a row to take a 13-7 lead. During that run, the home team picked up three kills from Norton and a pair of tandem blocks from Fortado and Heckelman. The Razorbacks’ largest lead of the set was eight—20-12—after a block from Fortado and Janeliss Torres-Lopez. On the team’s second set point, Santos buried a second-touch kill to clinch the game, 25-18.
    Out of the break, Arkansas jumped out to an early lead in the third set and jumped out to a 13-8 lead after consecutive kills from Norton. The visitors called their first timeout of the game with the Razorbacks leading, 17-14. Oklahoma went on a 4-0 scoring run late in the set to even the score at 20-20, but Arkansas responded to win four of the next six points to arrive at set point. The Sooners saved both set points and on their second chance to win the game, took the match lead with a 27-25 win.
    Oklahoma carried the momentum into the fourth set and went out to an early 10-4 lead. Facing deficits as large as seven throughout the game, the Razorbacks chipped away but never got closer than four points. In one final push, Arkansas pulled to within four—Oklahoma leading, 19-15—to force a timeout from Oklahoma. But the visitors withstood the challenge and won the final three points of the set, ending the match with a service ace.
    Arkansas returns to action this weekend for its second home tournament of the season. The Razorback Invitational begins Friday and continues through Saturday at Barnhill Arena. The two-day event will also include the teams from Houston Baptist, ULM and UTEP. The Razorbacks open play Friday night against HBU with first serve scheduled for 7 p.m. (CT).