Auburn's volleyball team will close out the fall portion of their schedule in a two match set against the Tennessee Volunteers. Wednesday's game is slated for a 7 p.m. first serve, while Thursday's game will start at 5 p.m. from Auburn Arena.
Auburn is still searching for the first win of their season and of the Brent Crouch era having started the season 0-6. Auburn's first six matches featured four matches against top five opponents and according to national rankings is tied for the third toughest schedule of any team in the nation. In fact, Auburn's three opponents from their first six matches enter today with a combined 18-4 record. That record is even better if you take out Florida and South Carolina's head-to-head matchups leaving the combined record at 16-2 (0.89 winning percentage). Tennessee is currently 2-4, so as far as the opposition's record these two matches will be Auburn's easiest of this fall schedule.
Tennessee is led on offense by outside hitter Lily Felts (77 kills, .260 hitting percentage), middle blocker Ava Bell (50 kills, .345 hitting percentage), and setter Natalie Hayward (187 assists and 58 digs). Danielle Mahaffey (54 kills) and Jasmine Brooks (56 kills) are also key contributors to the Volunteers offensive attack. Tennessee is one of the most aggressive offensive teams in the league as they average 36.7 attacks per set which ranks second in the SEC. The Volunteers are middle of the pack in the SEC with their .204 team hitting percentage. On defense, Madison Coulter (86 digs) leads the way on a talented backline which has totaled 372 digs (16.17 per set). Their average digs per set is good for second in the SEC and fifteenth nationally. Bell leads the way at the net with 25 total blocks. She is joined in the middle by Raquel Perinar and her 22 blocks.
So far this season, Auburn's strength has been the play of their middle blockers. The Tigers are fourteenth nationally averaging 2.37 blocks per set. Chesney McClellan has averaged 1.16 blocks per set (22 total blocks) which ranks sixteenth in the country. Jaeden Brown has also been a strong presence at the net with her 18 blocks. With Val Green missing time due to a non COVID-19 illness, Brown saw time on the outside against Kentucky last time Auburn was in action. McClellan and Brown have also added 30 and 28 kills respectively. Since returning from an injury that cost her the first two matches against Florida, freshman Jackie Barrett has taken over the starting setter position. Veteran stalwarts Payton White and Bella Rosenthal have anchored Auburn's defense. Both White and Rosenthal eclipsed the 700 career dig mark against Kentucky. Lauren Dorrell has recorded 29 kills while hitting .247 this season for the Tigers. Tatum Shipes leads the team with 39 kills.
Jacob Hillman and Gavin Rankins will have the call of Wednesday evening's match from Auburn Arena. Pregame coverage will start at 6:45 p.m. on WEGL 91.1 FM.
Auburn football wasn't the Auburn team in action on Saturday. Auburn women’s basketball was back in action for its second game of the season, notching its second win in a close one, 66-64 over Samford.