Auburn Volleyball opened this season with the War Eagle Invitational and the Tigers are 2-0 following wins over Tennessee Tech and Jackson State.
After the Citadel, Auburn’s planned opponent for Friday night, was forced to cancel their match, Tennessee Tech’s match with the Tigers was moved up to that night. The Tigers were dominant throughout the match, defeating the Golden Eagles in three straight sets.
The Tigers won the first set 25-17 and followed it with a 25-12 victory in the second set. The closest the Golden Eagles got to the Tigers came in the third set, but the Tigers still prevailed 25-19.
Tech could not find any rhythm in the match, with 25 total errors between the three sets. The team had only 32 kills on the night, giving them a .063 hit percentage, the lowest Auburn has allowed since a September 21 2019 match against IUPUI. Auburn also had nine blocks, including seven from Tatum Shipes.
On the attacking end, the Tigers had 37 kills, including 13 from Rebekah Rath and nine from Liz Reich. The Tigers total hit percentage was .292 and the team had 30 assists, 25 of which came from Jackie Barrett. Barret recorded a double-double, the first of her college career, with 12 digs.
“I thought it was a great first match for us,” said Tigers head coach Brent Crouch. “We hadn’t played in quite a while. To get the first win over with in the first match is good.”
The Tigers would be back on the court 24 hours later for their second, and final match, of the War Eagle Invitational against the Jackson State Lady Tigers. The Tigers continued their hot start to season, defeating the Lady Tigers in three straight sets. Auburn had not won a match in three sets since their match against Alabama on November 30, 2019.
The Tigers of Auburn were dominant from the first set, winning 25-9, and that continued throughout the match, winning the second set 25-11 and third set 25-13. For the second straight match, Auburn’s opponent had over 20 errors with the Lady Tigers committing exactly 20 during the match.
The Tigers had 42 kills, with Rath and Reich leading the way once again, with 16 and 13 each. This was Rath’s second straight match with double-digit kills, and she earned War Eagle Invitational All-Tournament Team honors for her performance.
“Obviously, things are going to get tougher as we get into the SEC portion of the schedule, but she (Rebekah Rath) is a big-time player,” Crouch said. “She’s played in the Big Ten against some of the best volleyball in the country. She’s played in big crowds against great teams, so she’s experienced and she’s confident and she’s only going to get better.”
Barrett led the team in assists again, this time with 27 while Bella Rosenthal led the Tigers in digs with 14.
Auburn had a hit percentage of .457, the first time they have been over .400 since a September 1 2018 match against Eastern Illinois.
The Tigers will be back on the court September 3 to begin the 2021 Southeastern Showdown against Southern University. The Tigers will also face Southeastern Louisiana and Cal State Fullerton in the tournament.
Auburn will be back inside Auburn Arena on September 8 to take on New Orleans. The game with be broadcasted live on WEGL 91.1 FM in conjunction with the Auburn Sports Network.