Oct. 11, 2012
@AUVolleyball on Twitter | Auburn Volleyball on Facebook
Auburn (13-4, 4-3) vs. Georgia (9-7, 3-4) | Friday, Oct. 12, 6 p.m. CT
Ramsey Student Center | Athens, Ga.
GameTracker | Live Video | Auburn Notes
Auburn (13-4, 4-3) at #11 Florida (13-2, 7-0) | Sunday, Oct. 14, 12:30 p.m. CT
Stephen C. O'Connell Center | Gainesville, Fla.
TV: Sun Sports
GameTracker | Live Audio (AU Feed) | Auburn Notes
AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn volleyball team hits the road again this weekend for a pair of matches against SEC Eastern Division foes. The Tigers will face Georgia at 6 p.m. Friday before heading to No. 11 Florida for a televised match at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
Fans can follow @AUVolleyball on Twitter for updates throughout the weekend, and live stats for both matches can be accessed via AuburnTigers.com. Friday's match can be viewed via free live video at GeorgiaDogs.com. Sunday's contest will be televised regionally by Sun Sports with Larry Vettel and Missy Whittemore calling the action. For fans outside the Sun Sports viewing area, live audio will be available at AuburnTigers.com.
The Tigers (13-4, 4-3 SEC) will look to continue their strong play as the second half of the schedule begins. With 13 wins, Auburn has already surpassed its total from last season and has matched its second-best all-time record through 17 matches.
"Georgia's coming off a tough match Sunday, up 2-0 on Tennessee and ended up losing in five," Auburn head coach Rick Nold said. "But they're tough, they had a lot of players transfer in this year, and they will be a challenge. We've got to focus on the things we're trying to improve as a team. We just need to make sure we're taking care of our serving and passing - it's the same thing we talk about every week, but it has such an impact on the game.
"Florida has had a great year as well. We're going to focus on Georgia first, but when we get to them, we'll go at them, challenge them and compete. I think if we play our style of game, that's when we have a chance to get an upset."
ABOUT THE TIGERS
Auburn is coming off a home sweep of Mississippi State last Friday, while Georgia split a pair of five-set matches, winning at LSU 3-2 before falling at Tennessee by the same score. Florida picked up a sweep of Arkansas on Friday before mounting a big comeback to defeat Kentucky 3-2; the Gators trailed 2-0 before winning the final three sets.
Auburn's defense will need to keep up its strong play this weekend. The Tigers rank second in the SEC in opponent hitting percentage, holding foes to a .159 mark over the first 17 matches of the season. The Tigers are 11-1 when holding opponents below the .200 mark, but just 2-3 when opponents hit .200 or better.
At the front of the defensive charge has been a strong blocking group of Camila Jersonsky, who ranks fourth in the SEC with 1.15 blocks/set, and Courtney McDonald, who comes in 12th in the league at 0.92/set. Sarah Bullock, Chloe Rowand and Katherine Culwell have also had their share of blocks as the Tigers average 2.54 blocks/set, fifth-best in the league.
Auburn has also been strong in the back row, ranking third in the SEC with 16.85 digs/set. Libero Sarah Wroblicky is tied for second in the SEC and 89th in the nation with 4.68 digs/set.
Georgia enters the weekend at 9-7 overall, 3-4 in SEC play. This will be Georgia's sixth home match of the year; they are 4-1 at the Ramsey Center.
The Bulldogs have lost three of their last four heading into this week's matchup.
Georgia is one of the top blocking teams in the league, averaging 2.58 blocks/set to rank third in the SEC.
Sophomore Tirah Le'au leads Georgia with 2.95 kills/set, ranking 17th in the SEC.
Junior Elena Perri ranks third in the SEC with 1.19 blocks/set.
Three of Georgia's matches in SEC play have gone five sets; the Bulldogs are 2-1 in those matches.
Georgia leads the all-time series 33-13, but Auburn has won three of the last four meetings.
Auburn and Georgia split the season series last season with the Bulldogs winning a nationally televised match in Athens, 3-1, while Auburn won on senior night at home, 3-0.
LAST TIME: AUBURN 3, GEORGIA 0 (11/23/11)
The Auburn volleyball team sent the Tigers' two seniors - Kelly Fidero and Christina Solverson - out in style as they defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-21) in the final match of the season for both teams. All three sets were closely contested; the lead changed hands five times in the first two sets and six times in the final game. In the match, the score was tied a total of 30 times; however, the Tigers managed to close out the Bulldogs each time.
Fidero went out on a high note, sharing the team lead with nine kills on 32 attacks. She finished one kill shy of her second double-double of the season as she racked up 10 digs on the night. Solverson earned the start at setter and led the Tigers with 20 assists in the match along with a kill and three digs. Brittney Rhude shared the team lead with Fidero with nine kills of her own, hitting a team-best .615 with just one error in 13 attacks. Chloe Rowand also had a strong night to close out the year, posting seven kills on 11 attacks for a .545 hitting percentage; she also had a team-best and matched a career-high with six blocks. MacKenzy Harper got the start at libero and led the team with 18 digs.
The Tigers had 45 kills to Georgia's 38 and out-hit the Bulldogs .287 to .170. Auburn won the digs battle 41-38 and was the better serving team with three aces - two from Harper - to go along with eight errors. Auburn was exceptional at the net with 11 blocks to Georgia's four.
Florida is ranked No. 11 in the latest AVCA Coaches' Poll and enters the weekend with a 13-2 overall record, 7-0 in SEC play.
The Gators are perfect at home this season, 9-0 at the O'Connell Center, and they enter this weekend on a 10-match winning streak.
Freshman Ziva Recek was named the SEC Player of the Week after hitting .345 with 13 kills, 6 digs, 4 blocks vs. Arkansas and 19 kills and 8 digs in a five-set win over Kentucky.
Florida leads the SEC and ranks fifth in the NCAA in hitting percentage at .312 for the year. Tangerine Wiggs has the SEC's top individual hitting mark at .427, which ranks 8th nationally.
The Gators are 19th nationally and third in the SEC with 14.34 kills/set. Ziva Recek (3.91) and Chloe Mann (3.71) are fourth and sixth in the SEC, respectively.
Florida leads the all-time series 39-2 and has won 35 straight in the series. Auburn's last win over Florida came on Oct. 12, 1990.
Last season, Florida defeated the Tigers in Auburn 3-1 and earned a three-game sweep in Gainesville.
LAST TIME: FLORIDA 3, AUBURN 0 (11/21/11)
Auburn dropped a straight-set decision to the No. 17-ranked Florida Gators, falling 3-0 (10-25, 17-25, 26-28) at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Senior Kelly Fidero led all hitters with nine kills on 20 attacks; five of those kills came in the third set. Camila Jersonsky - making her first appearance since Oct. 30 - had five kills, as did Sarah Bullock. Sarah Wroblicky led the Tigers with five digs, and Chloe Rowand had three blocks. Senior setter Christina Solverson earned her fourth start of the season and led Auburn with 13 assists.
Florida out-hit Auburn by a .366-.167 margin and out-dug the Tigers 28-19. The service game was once again a major struggle for Auburn as the Tigers were guilty of 16 service errors with just one ace. Meanwhile, Florida had four aces with nine service errors and had seven team blocks to the Tigers' 4.5. Kelly Murphy led Florida with eight kills and 14 assists, while Tangerine Wiggs and Kristy Jaeckel had seven kills each.
A LOOK AHEAD
Auburn will return home for an all-Tiger weekend at the Student Act next week. Auburn plays host to LSU at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, then welcomes new SEC member Missouri at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21. Admission is free to both matches.